CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia’s senators were two of seven to co-sponsor the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act on Tuesday.
According to a press release from the office of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R, WV), the bill would schedule illicit xylazine, which is also known as “tranq” or the “zombie drug.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public safety alert about the drug, calling it a widespread threat, and noting that it’s commonly mixed with fentanyl.
“Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” said DEA Administrator Ann Milgram. “DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 states.”
The drug is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved as a sedative and pain reliever for animals but can be deadly in humans. Notably, the DEA has warned Narcan can’t be used to reverse the effects of xylazine as it can with opioids.
At the end of February, the FDA said it would restrict the importation of xylazine.
Officials in Huntington, West Virginia have said that at least four toxicology reports from mid-July to the end of October 2022 were positive for xylazine in the region.
According to Capito’s press release, the bill would preserve access to the drug for legitimate veterinary purposes while scheduling it for illicit use, giving federal, state and local law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on the drug.
The full text of the bill is not yet available on Congress.gov.