Drug users combining horse tranquilizer, street drugs; experts warn against it

People are using the tranquilizer, normally meant for large animals like horses, in combination with common opiod street drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 7:37 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - As if street drugs weren’t harmful enough, it’s been recently reported that drug users are combining some drugs with a medicine meant for large animals.

Forensic chemistry supervisor Randall Robillard is surprised to see certain substances that come through North Louisiana Crime Lab.

“We see things come across our desk that we thought we never would’ve seen,” said Robillard.

You may or may not know what Xylazine is.

“It’s primarily used in veterinary practices for its sedative and muscle relaxing effects. It’s not FDA approved or a controlled substance with respect to human usage,” said Steven Fleming, the toxicology section supervisor at North Louisiana Crime Lab.

As of recent, people have begun using Xylazine recreationally.

“There’s some reports of it being used back in the 80′s, but recently it’s started to be detected a lot more frequently,” said Fleming.

Apparently, people are using the tranquilizer meant for large animals like horses in combination with common opioid street drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Experts say it’s being used to enhance the effects of the opiates.

“With Tranq specifically, what people are hoping to do is elongate the lasting effects of the opiates. It’s really tough because the strength of fentanyl is so severe that wanting to then elongate, that is really rolling the dice with your ability to make it through,” said Dr. Frederick Dombrowski, a mental health specialist.

Others tell KSLA the strange drug combination came to be as a way of avoiding legal issues.

“If they change the drug, it might not be something that the laboratory tests for. It could be ways people are trying to avoid testing,” Fleming said.

“If they change the drug up, it may not become illegal at that point, therefore they can’t be arrested for or charged for it because they’ve changed or altered it enough to where it’s outside of the controlled substance act,” said Robillard.

What makes Xylazine’s use so dangerous is that it almost entirely negates the effects of the overdose counteracting nasal spray Narcan. The spray usually reverses the effects of fentanyl, but the strength of the Xylazine could still leave the user unconscious.