The U.S. drug supply has been increasingly contaminated by Xylazine, a non-opioid animal tranquilizer. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), between 2020 and 2021 all four U.S. census regions experienced a dramatic uptick in xylazine forensic laboratory identifications. To save lives and educate people who use drugs about the dangers of xylazine, health agencies have responded to the emerging crisis with public health campaigns, educational materials and public health alerts.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASHTO) provided an overview of state and local campaigns to raise awareness around xylazine in an update to agencies nationwide. Agencies leading xylazine education efforts include:
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health Department) released guidance on xylazine for providers.
Philadelphia published information on xylazine that provides an overview on xylazine, how to respond to xylazine overdoses, and xylazine overdose data in Philadelphia.
Massachusetts’s guidance focused on harm reduction guidance, the health hazards of xylazine, and state specific xylazine data.
Rhode Island's campaign addresses wound care including how to heal open wounds and where to access clients that provide wound care treatment. Rhode Island advises people who need wound care to soak or hold a hot compress or warm water on the abscess 3-4 times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and increase circulation to the wound.