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Business News/ News / World/  This new ‘flesh-eating’ drug is turning people into ‘zombies’: What is xylazine, also known as tranq?

This new ‘flesh-eating’ drug is turning people into ‘zombies’: What is xylazine, also known as tranq?

Xylazine is 'zombifying people's bodies' by causing skin to decay.

Xylazine, sometimes known as 'zombie drug' can actually cause the user's skin to deteriorate. (Image for representation)Premium
Xylazine, sometimes known as 'zombie drug' can actually cause the user's skin to deteriorate. (Image for representation)

Doctors are perplexed by a new street medication that is being sold on the streets of Philadelphia, the epicentre of America's opioid crisis. Public health professionals are concerned about its spread and alarmed by the terrible injuries it leaves on users' bodies.

The catastrophic effects of xylazine, sometimes known as "tranq", are wreaking havoc in major US cities. The "zombie drug" can actually cause the user's skin to deteriorate.

Fentanyl, an opiate that has ravaged America's youth, and Xylazine are combined to create Tranq. It may be purchased for only a few bucks per bag on the street. Dealers are aware that adding fentanyl lengthens the "hit".

In addition to putting users into a semi-conscious condition, the substance literally causes skin to decay. Eschar, a scaly crust of dead tissue formed by open wounds, might necessitate amputation if left untreated.

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The sedative xylazine is used on horses and cows. With repeated exposure, it can result in sedative-like symptoms such excessive tiredness and respiratory depression as well as open wounds that can quickly get severe. If left untreated, the crusty ulcerations, which can develop into dead skin called eschar, may require amputation.

“Tranq is basically zombifying people's bodies. Until nine months ago, I never had wounds. Now, there are holes in my legs and feet," a 28-year-old young man named Sam told Sky News.

With greater doses, xylazine completely renders users unconscious since it works as a tranquiliser. In contrast to opioids' semi-awake bliss, fentanyl cut with xylazine may cause users to pass out and reawaken many hours later. Anybody using drugs in this way is considerably more likely to suffer injury, such as sexual assault or getting hit by a car.

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Hospitals rarely test for it with normal toxicology testing since "tranq" is not categorised as a controlled substance for either people or animals, leaving it in a perplexing and terrifying grey area.

When drugs are used with xylazine, the psychoactive effects are amplified, increasing the enjoyment of drug use. Synthetic pharmaceuticals are also popular with drug producers and distributors. They provide lower-cost ways to produce products with high potencies and enable expanding market reach and revenues through innovative formulations.

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 23 Feb 2023, 06:28 AM IST
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