FDA-Approved "Zombie Drug" Is Worming Its Way into Major US Cities: It Literally Rots the User's Flesh


As America continues to battle the throes of the opioid crisis and drug epidemic within its own borders, a new horror has emerged — a horror that’s actually making the opioid crisis even worse.

Xylazine, known as “tranq,” “tranq dope” and “zombie drug,” is an FDA-approved animal tranquilizer that is decidedly not meant for humans.

“Xylazine is FDA-approved for use in animals as a sedative and pain reliever. Xylazine is not safe for use in humans and may result in serious and life-threatening side effects that appear to be similar to those commonly associated with opioid use, making it difficult to distinguish opioid overdoses from xylazine exposure,” the FDA said in a November 2022 statement warning clinicians of the drug.

So why are people taking sedatives approved and meant for animals? To get higher and higher.

In the words of The New York Times, xylazine is being used “to bulk up illicit fentanyl, making its impact even more devastating.”

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The effects of xylazine cannot be overstated. As The Times breaks it down, xylazine use causes wounds that “erupt with a scaly dead tissue called eschar,” which can lead to amputation if left untreated.

On top of that necrosis, xylazine use induces a “blackout stupor for hours, rendering users vulnerable to rape and robbery.”

Perhaps the worst side effect of xylazine use? When people eventually wake up from that “blackout stupor,” the actual effects and high from the fentanyl use have long since faded. They wake up immediately wanting their next high, creating an endless cycle of craving that any addict can painfully relate to.

Compounding the dangers of xylazine is the significant fact that xylazine is resistant to many opioid overdose treatments, due to xylazine being a sedative and not an opioid.

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This terrifying “zombie drug” was originally a Philadelphia issue, according to The New York Post, but has since moved on to other major cities across the country. It’s now enough of an issue where outlets are dedicating entire reports on xylazine discoveries in California and Arizona.

The Times, citing a 2022 report, noted that xylazine has been detected in illicit drug supplies in 36 states, as well as Washington, D.C. Vice News’s own study found that xylazine abuse was popping up in “at least 39 states.

Whether it’s 36 or 39 states, that means this “zombie drug” has been found in well over half of the country.

The presence of “tranq” has become so damning and prevalent in the City of Brotherly Love that there is a morose pessimism setting in.

“It’s too late for Philly,” Shawn Westfahl, a Philadelphia outreach worker told The Times. “Philly’s supply is saturated. If other places around the country have a choice to avoid it, they need to hear our story.”

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Exacerbating this budding epidemic? Xylazine exists in a legally gray area, having been approved 50 years ago by the FDA for veterinary use. This means that it is not a controlled substance, which means that the drug is not under the same scrutiny as say, heroin or marijuana.

Given some of the testimonies that exist online for xylazine users, addicts and those recovering from its grip, it appears that xylazine perhaps should be considered a controlled substance.

WARNING: The following paragraphs contain graphic descriptions of drug-related injuries that some people may find disturbing. 

“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 man only identified as “Sam” told SkyNews.

“I’ve had every opportunity to get out. In the past five months, my parents have sent me to treatment at least seven times,” Sam continued.

“But I haven’t been able to detox off tranq. It’s the mixture of it all, the Fentanyl with the tranq. These places don’t detox you for the tranq because they’re so behind on the times. You see people here that are a shell. They’re living their life two minutes at a time because that’s all that matters.

“I’m lucky there is still fight left in me.”

Another xylazine user was described like this by The Times: “(Brooke Peder) unrolled a bandage from elbow to palm. Beneath patches of blackened tissue, exposed white tendons and pus, the sheared flesh was hot and red. To stave off xylazine’s excruciating withdrawal, she said, she injects tranq dope several times a day. Fearful that injecting in a fresh site could create a new wound, she reluctantly shoots into her festering forearm.”

“The tranq dope literally eats your flesh,” Peder told The Times. “It’s self-destruction at its finest.”

Another xylazine user, only described as “Bill” by Vice News, had his finger amputated, but noted that he doesn’t like going to the hospital because of the stigma and lack of knowledge surrounding xylazine abuse.

“The main concern is we’re already amid the worst overdose crisis in history, nationally and locally,” Dr. Gary Tsai told the Los Angeles Times. “This would increase deaths from overdoses.”

There is no known medicine to reverse the effects of xylazine.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
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