Nearly 13% of fentanyl or heroin users also abuse xylazine, according to new research

A significant number of adults using illegally manufactured fentanyl or heroin are also using xylazine, according to new research in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Researchers found that 12.7% of adults who identified fentanyl or heroin as their primary substance also used xylazine. Those using xylazine had an average of two past nonfatal overdoses, compared to an average of one overdose among those who didn’t use xylazine.

As Emily’s Hope reported in 2023, The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy designated the combination of fentanyl and xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States. Xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer not meant for human use, is being mixed with fentanyl to create a dangerous drug nicknamed the “zombie drug.” This drug’s side effects include skin rotting, open sores, and a disoriented gait. The excessive drowsiness caused by the drug can give users a zombie-like appearance and can even cause skin to rot down to the bone.