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FARGO, ND (KXNET) — The Fargo Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division is reporting a disturbing trend in the rise of a legal, Narcan-resistant drug being mixed in with illegal drugs.
Xylazine, commonly known as “tranq,” is a veterinary drug used in large animals like horses and cattle. It is not approved for human consumption.
It is being mixed with illicit opioids, including fentanyl, to lengthen the euphoric effects of the drugs.
Since xylazine is not an opioid, Narcan has no effect on the drug’s impact on breathing.
The National Institutes of Health have stated, “experts are concerned that a growing prevalence of xylazine in the illicit opioid supply may render (Narcan) less effective for some overdoses.”
The Cass County Drug Task Force reports Fargo has seen a small number of xylazine-related overdose deaths — 8.5 percent of Fargo overdose deaths involved xylazine in 2021.
However, eastern states have seen a dramatic rise in overdose deaths involving xylazine. In Maryland, 19 percent of all drug overdose deaths involved xylazine; in Pennsylvania, 26 percent of all 2020 drug overdose deaths involved xylazine — up from 2 percent in 2015.
The Fargo Police Department reminds the public it is often impossible to know what kind of drugs are present in mixtures like those you would find in illegal M30 pills, many of which are known to contain fatal doses of fentanyl. The rise of xylazine makes these mixtures even more dangerous.