Comprehensive CNN and FOX and other media reports, the U.S. White House announced on April 12, the first time the specific drugs defined as "emerging threats," the first on the list is Xylazine and Fentanyl. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the designation of Fentanyl laced with Xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States is the first time in U.S. history that an administration has declared a drug to be an emerging threat.
Prior to the White House announcement, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also issued a public safety alert on March 20 of this year, stating that "DEA has seized mixtures of Xylazine and Fentanyl in 48 states across the United States; and, Xylazine was detected in 23 percent of Fentanyl powder and 7 percent of Fentanyl pills seized in 2022."
Drug overdose has become one of the most devastating public health crises in the United States, leading to a surge in related deaths in the last decade. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 107,000 people died from drug overdoses in the 12 months ending Oct. 31, 2022. The opiate Fentanyl, laced with Xylazine, is the catalyst for this crisis.
Fentanyl has been widespread in the United States for more than a decade, with the emergence of toluene Xylazine, so that Fentanyl, a class of opiate drugs, began to explode into a surprising "deadly energy". The drug dealers will mixed the Fentanyl and Xylazine, then it will become commonly known as "zombie drugs", long-term use will lead to the skin decay, unconsciousness just like "zombie".
Part 1 Xylazine (XYL)
Xylazine is the first major component of the "zombie drug". It is a peripheral and central alpha2-adrenoceptor agonist that produces dose-dependent sedation, muscle relaxation, and analgesia. Xylazine causes adverse reactions in many organs and the cardiovascular system. It causes urinary incontinence by suppressing ADH secretion; temporarily raises blood glucose by reducing endogenous insulin secretion; and causes pupil dilation and decreased intraocular pressure, while causing significant alterations in the cardiovascular system.
Xylazine was approved by the FDA in 1972 for use in the treatment of animals, usually as a sedative and painkiller, in mammals such as horses, cattle, and sheep. If used in humans, it can cause drowsiness and amnesia in mild cases, or hobbling, breathing difficulties, disorientation, even coma, skin ulceration; in severe cases, huge open wounds on the body, resembling a "zombie". If left untreated, it can lead to infection, amputation, and even death. Therefore, the FDA has never approved Xylazine for human use.
Previously, it was usually found only in veterinary hospitals, and no one thought to beware of Xylazine. It wasn't until 2006 that Xylazine was first found added to "speedball" (a mixture of heroin and cocaine) on the U.S. island of Puerto Rico. Studies have shown that over 90% of the "speedball" seized in Puerto Rico contained Xylazine. By 2019, Xylazine was detected in up to 31% of drug overdose deaths in Philadelphia. The Frederick Reedus Family Foundation issued a public health alert warning of the presence of Xylazine in the recent heroin supply. The report says that Xylazine produces a stronger euphoria than heroin alone, can enhance and prolong the effects of cocaine or opiate, and increases the risk of death from opiate overdose.
The popular name for Xylazine among street smokers has now been changed to "Tranquilizeruilizer". As a veterinary drug, it is not regulated by the FDA, and "Tranquilizer" is readily available online. In Philadelphia, where "Tranquilizer" has dominated the drug black market, there has been a dramatic increase in amputations, disfigurement, bone disease, and soft tissue disease. Even more deadly, although Xylazine is often used with Fentanyl, unlike opiates such as Fentanyl, there is no available antidote to reverse a methiazide overdose. This is one of the reasons for the extremely high rate of death from Xylazine.
Part 2 Fentanyl (FYL)
The second important ingredient of the "zombie drug" is Fentanyl, which has been available in the United States for many years. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opiate that has been approved by the FDA for a variety of severe pain, as well as post-surgical and post-operative analgesia in surgery and gynecology. Fentanyl is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine in very small lethal doses. Compared to morphine, the analgesic effect of Fentanyl is rapid, with "an onset of action of 1 minute after intravenous injection, a peak of 4 minutes, and a maintenance effect of 30 minutes".
Over the past decade, synthetic opiates such as Fentanyl, which are illicitly manufactured and distributed, have become increasingly common in the drug supply. Fentanyl and its related substances have contributed to a dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in the United States. According to statistics released by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. federal drug enforcement agents will seize enough Fentanyl doses to kill all Americans in 2022.
Part 3 Rapid Detection Reagents for Xylazine (XYL) and Fentanyl (FYL)
The current proliferation of Fentanyl opiates laced with Xylazine is becoming a new national crisis for the U.S. government. In March of this year, Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate introduced the Combating Illegal Xylazine Act, describing the problem as an "imminent threat to public health and safety" and requesting that it be placed on Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.
Biotest specializes in POCT and is committed to providing solutions for global drug co-management. Back in 2018 at the beginning of Fentanyl abuse, Biotest launched a rapid Fentanyl detection test. Until early 2023, when the abuse of "zombie drugs" broke out, the market for rapid tests in this field was still blank. In response to this "emerging threat", Biotest has taken a forward-looking perspective, followed the global drug detection trend, and continued to innovate and optimize to launch the Xylazine rapid test to help the global anti-drug prevention cause.
With the principle of immunochromatography, Biotest’s Xylazine and Fentanyl Rapid Test can detect the presence of Xylazine and Fentanyl in human urine, powder or liquid within 5 minutes. With the characteristics of rapid, sensitive and accurate, it not only brings great convenience to drug detection, but also contributes to the international anti-drug cause in China.
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