NEW YORK (WPIX) — Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to send a specialized team of experts to the tri-state area to address the increasing threat of xylazine, also known as “tranq.” The veterinary sedative has started to saturate street drugs in New York City and on Long Island.
“Xylazine is dangerous, it’s deadly, and it’s here,” said Schumer. “It’s a deadly, skin-rotting zombie drug that evil drug dealers are now mixing with fentanyl, heroin and other drugs.”
Last week, the DEA issued a rare public safety alert about the widespread threat of fentanyl mixed with xylazine, which places users at a higher risk of a deadly overdose. The administration claims Mexican cartels source the drug from China and then bring it into the United States.
Schumer is proposing a two-part plan. The first part asks for more federal dollars to help fund law enforcement, substance abuse treatment and mental health services.
The second piece of the plan urges the DEA to deploy a Diversion Control Team to the tri-state area, which includes New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Schumer said the team of investigators, special agents, chemists and others can help stem the spread of xylazine.
“The diversion teams are to drugs like the Navy SEAL teams are to our national security,” said Schumer. “They can swoop in on an area and deal with a drug problem.”
Because xylazine is not an opioid, it does not respond to the overdose-reversal drug Narcan. That is especially problematic for doctors and first responders.
“We are still advising our medical communities to administer Narcan,” said Dr. Mike Varshavski, a family medical doctor and YouTube content creator with more than 10 million subscribers. “We do want to reverse the opioid effect of fentanyl, and when you come to one of these cases on the street who is unconscious and potentially consumed an illicit substance, we don’t know which substance they have consumed.”
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