Tranq – the deadly “zombie” drug formally known as xylazine – is circulating across New York and has been tied to dozens of deaths in the state, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Sunday.
Use of the flesh-rotting substance is “spreading” in Syracuse, Albany, Rochester and the Greater New York City area, Schumer said, as he called on increased federal funding for the state to help fight the disturbing trend.
“This new drug is a nightmare,” the New York Democrat said during an afternoon press conference. “Xylazine is dangerous it is deadly. It is here. We have to fight and fund.”
Popular YouTube influencer Doctor Mike Varshavski, who joined Schumer for the briefing, told reporters xylazine is increasingly being mixed with highly lethal fentanyl to heighten and extend the euphoric feeling the synthetic opioid is said to elicit.
“We saw tremendous negative side effects this drug had including respiratory depression, essentially shutting off the drive to continue breathing,” Varshavski said.
Tranq, a veterinary drug, is Narcan-resistant, meaning its effects cannot be reversed in the event of an overdose.
It is said to cause skin and bone to deteriorate or rot over time.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration recently issued a public safety alert, announcing that the agency had seized mixtures of xylazine and fentanyl in 48 of the 50 states.
“Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.
Schumer said he wants the DEA to deploy a “diversion control team” to the Empire State to work with federal and local law enforcement in tackling xylazine.
He also announced a “push” to put more federal dollars toward New York’s substance use and mental health budget.