Important Zylazine Update

Xylazine: Know what is inside your drugs (pdf)

"Today, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has officially designated fentanyl adulterated or associated with xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States. Xylazine is a non-opioid tranquilizer approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for veterinary use but not human use. This designation comes after a review of the impact of xylazine on the opioid crisis, including its growing role in overdose deaths in every region of the United States." To view this press release, visit White House Designates Xylazine as Emerging Threat.

In our March Newsletter and our April Newsletter, we shared information about xylazine and its' involvement in an increasing number of overdoses in Illinois, and other health issues associated with its use, such as severe soft tissue infections. These may include abscesses, cellulitis, and skin ulceration that begin as blackened eschar that progresses to skin and muscle ulceration. These health issues require hospitalization, IV antibiotics, surgical debridement - and possible amputation.

As shared previously, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the American public of a sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine; this means that it is in the illicit drug supply.

Even though xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone use is still indicated in suspected overdose since opioids are usually part of the drug mix. Please visit our Drug Overdose Prevention Program (DOPP) webpage to learn about the SUPR's Access Narcan program. Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray) is a safe and effective opioid overdose reversal medication that saves lives.

IDHS/SUPR has also created, in a variety of languages, the attached informational flyers for distribution. We are asking for your assistance in distributing this information far and wide in your communities and with your patients/clients. We will share more information as it becomes available.

With your assistance, we hope this information reaches every community, people who use drugs, their friends and families, and harm reduction and treatment organizations to prevent associated Xylazine deaths and health problems across Illinois.