‘Tranq’ laced in common illegal drugs

February 7, 2023

A tranquilizer called xylazine, used by veterinarians to sedate horses and cattle, has found its way into drugs used by humans. Better known by its street name, “tranq” has been found at alarming rates in heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and marijuana used by humans.  

The facts are frightening; tranq follows a similar path to fentanyl, where users don’t even know it’s in the substance they’ve smoked, swallowed or injected. Scarier still, because it’s not a controlled substance or an opioid, Naloxone medication is less effective at reversing a tranq-laced overdose. 

To be clear, tranq is not meant for human consumption in any way, shape or form. It’s a central nervous system depressant that can cause drowsiness and amnesia, and cause slower breathing, heart rate and blood pressure to dangerously low levels. It can lead to severe necrosis (tissue damage), amputations and death. And just like the deadly onset of fentanyl, the medical and rehabilitation service community – EMTs, doctors, ER departments and substance abuse prevention and treatment centers like ours – are all playing catch-up trying to spread awareness that tranq exists and educating about the consequences if consumed. 

How can you protect yourself? One: If you do use drugs, never do it alone. Two: Keep Narcan on hand in the event of someone overdosing. Although Narcan cannot directly impact all the effects of tranq, it’s still the best emergency overdose medication we have. 

Lynn Morrison 
President and CEO
Brandywine Counseling and Community Services
  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number and address for verification. Please keep letters to 500 words or fewer. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. Letters should be responsive to issues addressed in the Cape Gazette rather than content from other publications or media. Only one letter per author will be published every 30 days. Letters restating information and opinions already offered by the same author will not be used. Letters must focus on issues of general, local concern, not personalities or specific businesses.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter