What Is Tranq? The Dangers and Effects of Xylazine

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Xylazine, commonly called “tranq,” is a potent sedative authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for veterinary purposes only.

Tranq, which is not approved for use by humans, has been increasingly found in illicit drugs such as fentanyl, heroin, and other substances. Learn more about the dangers of fentanyl.

Tranq has contributed to an alarming number of deaths in the last few years. According to the DEA, from 2020 to 2021, tranq related deaths from overdose surged 103% in the northeast, 516% in the midwest, and 750% in the west, skyrocketing 1,127% in the south.

Tranq Facts

According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), research has shown:  

  • The DEA Laboratory System is reporting that in 2022 approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine.
  • Xylazine and fentanyl drug mixtures place users at a higher risk of suffering a fatal drug poisoning. Because xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone (Narcan) does not reverse its effects.
  • If you use illicit drugs, you may not be aware of xylazine’s presence in your supply.
  • Xylazine has primarily been identified in combination with heroin and fentanyl but has also been found in meth and cocaine.

Additional facts and data about the impact of tranq are continuing to emerge as the medical and forensic community learn more. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, a reason for the slow roll of information on tranq is due to the lack of testing for the presence of xylazine in illicit drug combinations.

The Side Effects of Tranq

When it comes to using tranq in humans, it’s important to know that it is only approved for use in veterinary care and can result in serious, even life-threatening, side effects when used by people.

According to the FDA, tranq side effects closely resemble those typically associated with opioid use, making it challenging to differentiate between opioid overdoses and exposure to xylazine.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports the dangerous effects of using tranq can include:  

  • Sedation  
  • Difficulty breathing  
  • Dangerously low blood pressure  
  • Slowed heart rate  
  • Wounds that can become infected  
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms  
  • Death  

According to the DEA, another side effect for people who inject drug mixtures containing xylazine can develop severe wounds, including necrosis—the rotting of human tissue—that may lead to amputation.

Help for Tranq Addiction 

Tranq is addictive and can lead to severe medical consequences including overdose and even death. If you or someone you care about is using tranq or other illicit drugs including opioids like fentanyl or heroin, it is urgent to seek clinical treatment to prevent a fatal overdose.

Overcoming drug addiction can feel like an impossible task, but remember, you are not alone. At Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of patients find healing in sobriety. Since 1967, we have been committed to helping individuals reclaim their lives from the grips of addiction.

Valley Hope’s collaborative and customized approach has been perfected over 56 years to help you or your loved one find the path to a healthy life free of drugs and alcohol. Our dedicated clinical experts and compassionate support team understand the complexities of drug addiction, including the devastating effects of tranq or xylazine and fentanyl.

The local compassionate care team at a Valley Hope near you can help you begin the journey toward lasting recovery today. Simply call (800) 544-5101  any time, day or night for help.