An animal sedative that has been increasingly found in fentanyl, causing an added danger to people who use drugs, is now a controlled substance in Ohio.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order directing the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to immediately classify xylazine as a Schedule III controlled substance, making Ohio one of the first states in the nation to schedule xylazine as a controlled substance drug.
Xylazine is a central nervous system depressant used in veterinary medicine as a sedative, anesthetic, and muscle relaxant. The substance, which is not approved for human consumption, has increasingly been found in the illicit drug supply in Ohio, frequently mixed with fentanyl or new synthetic opioids such as nitazene.
The combination drug is often referred to as tranq dope. Using xylazine is known to cause debilitating skin ulcers that cause tissue decay and bacterial infections and cause devastating tissue damage and loss. Some have lost limbs when the ulcers are not handled by wound care experts.
What is xylazine? What you need to know if someone you know uses drugs
Classifying xylazine as a controlled substance will increase testing for the drug and makes the sale and trafficking of xylazine for illicit use a criminal offense.
"This lethal drug has dangerous side effects which can’t be reversed by naloxone, so there is no way to reverse its impact on people,” DeWine said in a statement. “The rate of overdose deaths involving a mixture of xylazine and other drugs is increasing at an alarming rate, which is exactly why we need to take action now."
When used in combination with an opioid, xylazine may worsen respiratory depression in the event of a drug overdose.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Animal sedative found often in fentanyl made a controlled substance