New drug alert in the US: Rise in overdoses linked to the use of drugs for animals

A combination of the synthetic drugs fentanyl and xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, has been labelled a “growing threat” by the White House due to its role in the ongoing opioid crisis in the US.

For the first time in history, a US presidential administration has declared a substance as an emerging threat to the nation, according to several media reports.

The drug combination is called FAAX, short for “fentanyl-adulterated or -associated xylazine”.

Xylazine, also known as tranq, is a non-opioid drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but only as an animal sedative. According to an intelligence report released last year by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the substance has been linked to a rapidly increasing number of overdose deaths in the US.

The drug is mixed with fentanyl and is now available in almost all 50 US states, according to Rahul Gupta, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“As a physician, I am deeply concerned about the devastating effects of the fentanyl-xylazine combination, and as President Biden’s drug policy advisor, I am extremely concerned about the effect this threat may have on our nation,” he said in a statement.

The administration’s declaration of FAXX as an emerging threat means that it now has 90 days to coordinate a national response and a national plan of action to prevent the spread of the drug.

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