What We Know About Xylazine: In this episode, host Lauren Walker, Program Director for the Hep C and Drug User Health Center of Excellence at CEI, speaks with special guests Dr. Sharon Stancliff and NYSDOH’s Lisa Skill about the increasing health threat posed by xylazine.
Dr. Stancliff is Associate Medical Director of Harm Reduction in Healthcare, AIDS Institute, NYSDOH. She has been working with people who use drugs since 1990, and currently focuses on opioid overdose prevention. Lisa Skill is a Health Program Coordinator at the NYSDOH AIDS Institute Office of Drug User Health.
Xylazine, often called “tranq” or “tranq dope” on the street, is being used to amplify and extend the effects of other drugs such as stimulants, opioids, and other sedatives. The drug was designed for veterinary use in animals as a sedative and muscle relaxant and is not approved for human consumption. Human use of xylazine was first noted in Puerto Rico in the early 2000s, and has since spread across the U.S. into local drug supplies. In November 2022, the FDA issued a national warning to healthcare professionals to be cautious of the potential for xylazine inclusion in fentanyl, heroin, and other illicit drug overdoses.
This episode will describe xylazine trends and use over time, and provide clinicians with an understanding of the physiologic effects of xylazine intoxication. Dr. Sharon Stancliff and Lisa Skill will also share their clinical and harm reduction recommendations for xylazine intoxication, overdose and withdrawal.