A DOCTOR has warned of the devastating effects of a skin-rotting ‘zombie’ drug being put into pills in the US.
Xylazine, also known as “Tranq,” is an animal tranquilizer that causes severe skin ulcers to erupt at injection sites, resulting in rotting flesh and sometimes multiple amputations.
Public health officials have issued a warning about the veterinary drug after it surfaced in 48 US states.
People suffering from opioid addiction turn to Tranq to prolong fentanyl’s often brief high.
But even those not actively searching for the drug could succumb to its deadly effects after Xylazine killed a record nearly 107,000 people in the US in 2021.
Speaking exclusively to The US Sun, clinical psychologist Eric D. Collins warned that drug overdose has now become the leading cause of death for adults aged 18 to 42 in America.
“This is a serious problem in this country,” said the addiction specialist.
“Every young person should be aware that any pills they might buy are extremely dangerous.”
dr Collins, who works as the chief medical officer for Recovery Education & Applied Learning, said the zombie drug can cause skin infections that don’t heal.
The sores, often found on the extremities, can lead to problems such as gangrene, which can rot the flesh and require amputation.
“We’ve seen some people with multiple amputations of different body parts,” said Dr. Collins.
The US Sun previously reported that former addicts have even spoken out about people continuing to inject the drug into their stumps.
James Sherman, a former user, told CNN that people “are not yet ready to see the effects of the horrible drug.”
“It’s literally people’s flesh that’s rotting, and you can smell it,” he said.
Tranq is directly related to the terrible fentanyl crisis that caused tens of thousands of users to stop breathing due to the opioid’s depressing properties.
The effects of fentanyl can be reversed with the life-saving drug naloxone, also known as Narcan, but Tranq, which is not suitable for human use, cannot be stopped.
In a recent study, the Drug Enforcement Administration found that 60 percent of drugs bought on the street were made to look like something they weren’t.
In Philadelphia, 90 percent of street drugs contained trace amounts of the zombie tranquilizer, said Dr. Collins.
The shocking statistic comes after parents were warned drug dealers could be using apps like Snapchat to sell fake items to teens, resulting in deaths.
Zach Didier was just 17 when he died of fentanyl poisoning after taking what he thought was Percocet just two days after Christmas in December 2020, his heartbroken parents said.
“No one is necessarily looking for xylazine,” Collins told The US Sun.
“What they are looking for is the supply of a drug.”
Collins said distributors will trick users into branding substances to make them look familiar when in fact they contain fentanyl and Tranq.
Merchants do this so they get hooked faster and want more, the doctor said.
Fentanyl can relieve anxiety and provide a powerful sense of “warmth and well-being” unrivaled by any other drug.
When cut with fentanyl, xylazine can induce a semi-conscious state that causes people on the street to hang their torsos over their legs when they are moving very slowly or not at all.
Hence the name “zombie drug”. However, with greater success, the need for addicts to buy it increases.
Philadelphia mayoral candidate David Oh told The US Sun that the deadly effects could also encourage people suffering from addiction to turn to it.
“Deadly drugs sell best…when addicts get high, they’re in heaven, and when they’re not high, they’re very miserable,” Oh said.
He added: “They live for the high… when they hear from a person who has died, that’s it, they strive for it.
“Death is a seller, it’s a moneymaker.”
STOP THE SPREAD
dr Collins has pushed back on a growing culture that encourages drug use.
He speculated that legalizing marijuana could create a “permissive” culture that lures teenagers into thoughtlessly trying other substances.
Collins clarified that marijuana is far less dangerous but can still cause mental health problems and psychotic breaks in young people.
He urged people to always be conscious of their choices and not take any chances with a single pill.
“Anyone who can’t get a prescription drug from a well-known pharmacy that’s properly prescribed by a doctor would be worried in 2023,” he said.
“Fedified pills have become the number one killer of people between the ages of 18 and 40… We should spread the word.”
New legislation is being passed that will make naloxone an over-the-counter drug and will hopefully increase its availability among high-risk users.
Although it has no effect on Tranq, Collins advocates the use of naloxone as it could save someone from succumbing to a fatal dose of fentanyl.
Political leaders are also working with countries that appear to be producing large quantities of fentanyl to mitigate the crisis.
While these improvements are important nationally, Dr. Collins reminded the public that it’s important to have safe conversations with loved ones who appear to be suffering.
“There’s a lot of stigma around substance use and it can be difficult to talk about,” he said.
“I think families can learn how to talk to their kids. That can have an important impact.”
Recovery Education offers countless educational resources on building family support, exploring treatment options, and researching insurance options.