WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), hosted a listening session with public health and public safety leaders from several states and territories about trends they are seeing related to the drug xylazine and efforts to address these trends. Xylazine, a drug used in veterinary medicine as a non-opioid sedative and analgesic, has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths and other serious harms. ONDCP is reviewing data on the use and effects of xylazine, and the voices of state, territorial and local officials are critical sources of such information.
Participants described increases of xylazine in the illicit drug supply, both on its own and as an adulterant to fentanyl. In some jurisdictions, xylazine has been reported in large percentages of street opioid samples, and other locales are working to expand testing for xylazine to improve estimates of its local prevalence and impact. Several of the state and local officials noted that they are working to increase awareness about xylazine among persons who use drugs, substance use treatment and harm reduction providers, law enforcement, and the wider medical community. They also described efforts to rapidly track xylazine in the drug supply to prevent it from entering communities and respond effectively when it does.
Dr. Gupta said ONDCP would continue working with public health and public safety leaders to address these concerns.