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Mexico raises concerns about sedatives used in opioids, referred to as ‘zombie drug’



Mexico sounds alarm over 'zombie drug' sedative in opioids, ET HealthWorld

In a recent study conducted in Mexico, the presence of the animal tranquilizer Xylazine in opioids has raised concerns among public health officials. The discovery of Xylazine in drugs like heroin and fentanyl in cities along the country’s northwest border with the United States has prompted the issuance of an alert by Mexico’s health ministry and the mental health and addiction commission. This alert warns health personnel and first responders in Mexican border cities about the potential adulteration of opioids with Xylazine, a substance known for its sedative effects in animals but not approved for human use.

The study, funded by Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), found Xylazine as an adulterant in 35 residues of heroin mixed with fentanyl and 26 fentanyl residues out of 300 drug samples tested in Tijuana and Mexicali. These findings have raised concerns about the impact of Xylazine on opioid overdose reversal treatments and the increased risk of fatal drug poisoning, along with the potential for severe skin abscesses that can be life-threatening.

Lead author of the study, Clara Fleiz from Mexico’s National Institute of Psychiatry, expressed surprise at the presence of Xylazine in the drug residues. This discovery comes at a time when the consumption of fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid responsible for thousands of deadly overdoses in the United States, is reportedly spreading within Mexico’s borders. The ongoing study was originally focused on identifying adulterants in drugs and unintentionally uncovered the presence of Xylazine, highlighting the need for further investigation and monitoring of drug trafficking and distribution in the region.

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