Follow us

By Jackie Franks, MPH, CHES, CPS

What is Xylazine?
Xylazine is a veterinary drug that was developed in 1962 as a large animal sedative containing a muscle relaxant with pain-relieving properties. Xylazine was never intended for human consumption and is a non-classified drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In humans, xylazine acts on the central nervous system and may cause drowsiness, slowed breathing, decreased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and amnesia. Xylazine is present in the recreational drug supply in at least 36 states, and many individuals consuming these substances are unaware that xylazine is in them.

Overdose and Xylazine
The CDC analyzed data from 28 states and determined there has been a 64.3% increase in xylazine involved overdose deaths between 2019 and 2022. In all Xylazine-involved deaths, the individual’s toxicology report showed one or more other illicit substances as contributing to the cause of death.

There is no current treatment to reverse the effects of xylazine exposure and naloxone does not reverse the effects of the drug.

Xylazine and Pregnancy
The FDA has warned healthcare professionals about the serious risks associated with Xylazine exposure in humans. Since Xylazine is used as a veterinary drug and there are no approved uses in humans, we have little information about its effects. We do know that Xylazine has been found to cause necrotic skin ulcers in some patients.

Findings from animal studies raise serious concerns about Xylazine’s potential adverse effects on fetal development. In these studies, Xylazine has been shown to reduce blood flow to the uterus and oxygen availability, which may prevent oxygen from getting to the fetus during critical states of development of delivery.

There is no amount of Xylazine that is safe for human consumption, especially during pregnancy.

Next Steps
If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, we are here to help. Please contact us at the bottom of the page so we can help direct you to resources or visit our friends at Indiana Recovery Network.

Brommelsiek, Margaret (2023). A New Drug Epidemic Sweeping Across America- Full Report
Ayub, et al (2023). Xylazine in the Opioid Epidemic: A Systematic Review of Case Reports and Clinical Implications – Full Article

What is FASD? Check Out Our FASD Resource Directory Drinking & Pregnancy

Related News

Emerging Drug Threat in Indiana: Medetomidine

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) has issued an alert about medetomidine,
Read More

Families Moving Forward (FMF) Program

What is Families Moving Forward (FMF)? FMF is an evidence-based intervention to
Read More

The Impact of Substance Use on Fetal Development: A Comprehensive Look

By Jackie Franks, MPH, CHES, CPS  Pregnancy is a critical period in
Read More

Reach out

We’d love to hear from you!

Please use this form to share your stories, ask questions, and build connections.

"*" indicates required fields