Director of the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition Adam Neal shared the newest information in regard to the new proliferation of an extremely dangerous adulterant being added to illicit drugs.
“Xylazine is a dangerous new addition to the Opioid Crisis,” Neal shared. “We are distributing educational material warning the public about this new drug additive.”
RAYSAC’s mission is to “reduce substance abuse among youth and young adults in the Roanoke Valley by enhancing the coordination of substance abuse education, prevention campaigns, partnerships, and resources. We have been in operation for over 33 years and serve the greater Roanoke Valley, including Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke counties and the cities of Roanoke and Salem.”
He shared that in Roanoke, a recent DEA public safety alert has confirmed a sharp increase in the trafficking of a drug called Xylazine.
Previous to this alert, the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition (RAYSAC) had been working to educate the public in the Roanoke Valley about the devastating effects this drug can have on users and our entire community.
“Xylazine is a veterinary sedative with legitimate uses, such as the sedation of large animals like horses and cows,” he said. “There is, however, no FDA-approved use for human consumption of this drug. Recently, it has been utilized by criminal drug networks as an additive in mixtures of fentanyl.”
“This is happening because the high that fentanyl creates is often potent but short lived compared to other opiates like heroin and mixing it with xylazine has been known to increase the duration of the high,” Neal explained. “RAYSAC has created an educational handout on this topic that explains the devastating side effects that occur with xylazine use, such as open wounds and skin necrosis that often show on the arms and legs of users.”
He continued, “Another complication arises when xylazine is mixed with an opioid like fentanyl. Because it is a sedative not in the opioid family, overdoses involving xylazine are often resistant to naloxone (Narcan) intervention. This means a key tool in the reversal of an opioid overdose is less effective.”
Currently, Roanoke City is recorded as having the second highest non-fatal overdose rate nationally over the past year (https://nemsis.org/opioid-overdose-tracker/).
For more information, contact Adam Neal at (540) 982-1427 x5123 or [email protected].
RAYSAC believes educating the public about the dangers of xylazine “is paramount”.
To add to the safety in Craig County, Market Street Pharmacy has a drug disposal container in front of the drop-off window, where those interested can drop their unused medications, any time during the open hours of Food Country.