LAC DPH Health Advisory: Xylazine in Illicit Drugs Increasing Overdose Risks

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) issued a health advisory on February 24, 2023. This advisory shares important information about xylazine.

Key Messages

  • Xylazine, a veterinary anesthetic, is increasingly present in the illicit drug supply. It is not FDA approved for humans and lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate.
  • Xylazine may be included in street drugs, illicit drugs, and counterfeit pills—often without the knowledge of people who use these drugs. There is no test readily available to the public to detect xylazine in drugs.
  • Xylazine is often combined with opioids and increases the risk of overdose and death. It is also associated with complex skin infections when injected.
  • Xylazine is not an opioid, so its effects are not reversed by naloxone. However, naloxone should still be administered during a suspected or known xylazine overdose because of the high likelihood that opioids are also present.
  • Clinicians should consider collecting serum toxicology tests specifically for xylazine through an available laboratory to confirm xylazine overdose.

Read the full LAC DPH Health Advisory: Xylazine in Illicit Drugs Increasing Overdose Risks.