Xylazine increasingly appearing in Canada’s street drug supply

published on February 14, 2023 in DATAC

In recent months, xylazine, a potent sedative circulating in the illicit drug supply in the United States, has been increasingly detected in Canada’s street drugs, as health experts have raised concerns due to its risk of contributing to overdose-related deaths.

Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer and analgesic used in veterinary medicine and, specifically, on large animals. Furthermore, the increasing incidence of xylazine being detected in opioids in various parts of the U.S. led to a warning released by the FDA in November 2022, alerting health-care professionals to “increasing reports of serious side effects” from the drug, also referred to as “tranq.”

According to data released by Substance Use Philadelphia, xylazine has been found in over 90% of opioid-containing drug samples tested in Philadelphia in 2021.

In July of 2022, the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (CCENDU) issued an alert after detecting xylazine in opioid samples tested in B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. In recent months, the number of illicit drug samples testing positive for xylazine has increased, and it has been linked to a number of overdose-related deaths, as shown by coroner’s reports in B.C. and Ontario…

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