Xylazine is a powerful non-opiate sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant authorized for veterinary use only by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Xylazine, when used illicitly in combination with other illicit drugs, presents an increasing threat as it has been detected in a growing number of overdose deaths. Forensic analysis has shown that it is commonly encountered in combination with fentanyl and has also been detected in mixtures containing cocaine, heroin, and a variety of other drugs.
Fentanyl presents the deadliest drug threat in the U.S. that DEA has ever seen. The combination of illicit xylazine and illicit fentanyl is even deadlier.
"DEA has seized xylazine-fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 states and in Washington, D.C. We know where this xylazine comes from—it comes as powder from China and as liquid diverted from veterinary supply chains.
In one of the cases being announced today, DEA agents seized more than 300 grams of xylazine shipped from a company in China to Miami, and paid for in Bitcoin. That same company shipped xylazine to a fentanyl trafficker in Philadelphia multiple times a month. When agents conducted a search of the trafficker’s home, they found 1,500 counterfeit pills, two pill presses, a powder mixture of fentanyl and xylazine, and two bottles of liquid xylazine.
Despite all of this, xylazine is not yet a controlled substance. This is why it is so important for it to be scheduled."
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram
DEA and DHS Issue Joint Update on Sources of Illicit Xylazine (Sept. 22, 2023)
Dangers of Xylazine
Joint Intrepid Laboratory Report: Sourcing Xylazine (October 2023)
Public Safety Alert (March 2023)
DEA Forensic Sciences Xylazine Report (March 2023)