Your brain and behavior are both impacted by the condition of addiction. Substance addiction makes it unable to resist the impulse to use the drug, regardless of how harmful it may be.
Now, there’s a powerful new tranquilizer in the street drug supplies of Philadelphia and other cities that’s causing mysterious body wounds and agonizing withdrawals.
Addicts today now must worry about the fact that drug dealers lace their illegal substances with other narcotics, including a well-known flesh-eating substance that has been incorporated into doses of heroin, cocaine, and other drugs that are popular with street addicts. Xylazine, a muscle relaxant intended for large animals like horses, is the substance that is causing such horrific overdoses in addition to fentanyl.
The first thing to understand about the potent animal tranquilizer xylazine is that it is not an opiate and is not listed on the DEA’s schedule of prohibited substances. Tranq can be obtained online and is completely legal.
Ironically, though, health authorities have a problem with it not being an opiate. Narcan or other drug-reversing procedures are ineffective in treating tranq overdoses. Xylazine is not currently being treated with medical assistance. Because tranq binds to the same brain receptors as opiates, withdrawal from tranq can be extremely painful, especially if you’re using it in combination with typical opiate withdrawal treatments that don’t work.
As xylazine eats away at users’ flesh, the drug’s intended purpose, to relax muscles and relieve pain, creates more problems as people inject it into painful lesions to relieve pain.
“Because skin ulcers are painful, people may continuously inject themselves into the ulcer site to relieve pain, as xylazine is a potent α2-adrenergic agonist that…decreases the perception of painful stimuli, individuals may self-treat the wound by draining or cutting it, which can exacerbate negative outcomes,” a report said. of 2021 in Injury Prevention.
Skin infections at the injection site are common among intravenous drug users. However, mixing tranq with Fentanyl can result in severe lesions appearing anywhere on the body. Sam Brennan, a former junkie who now runs a Badlands recovery house, recalls discovering a wound on his leg where he never injected drugs that took months to heal.
“I would inject in my neck,” Brenan remembers, “but these wounds were coming out of my hands and legs. It would scab up, and you would rip the scab off and it would be like a crater under your skin, like it’s eating your flesh.”
Opioids do not include xylazine. Since it’s a rare muscle relaxant, doctors and hospitals are having a difficult time treating overdose sufferers since they can’t quickly identify the medication and counteract its harmful effects on the body.
In 2015, only.36% of fatal overdoses involved xylazine, according to research conducted by one student on drug and alcohol use. Nearly 7% of all fatal overdoses in the US were caused by the drug by the year 2020. That’s a significant rise for a medicine that the majority of people had never even heard of. 2019 fatal overdoses in Philadelphia involved xylazine in 31% of cases.
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