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California Bill Tackles Threat From Horse Tranquilizer Mixed With Fentanyl

California Bill Tackles Threat From Horse Tranquilizer Mixed With Fentanyl

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reported that xylazine is following the same path as fentanyl, spreading to western states from the Northeast and South. Above, xylazine in Ontario, Canada. (The Canadian Press)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

4/6/2024

Updated: 4/7/2024

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The emergence of xylazine, a drug commonly used to tranquilize horses, as a deadly additive to fentanyl has prompted California lawmakers to take action.
Assembly Bill 3029 would add xylazine to the list of controlled substances in the state, contingent upon action by Congress, making it a Schedule III drug and requiring coroners and medical examiners to test for it in suspected overdoses.
Currently routine toxicology tests don’t detect the drug, according to an April 2 press release from the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Dr. Jasmeet Bains, a Democrat from the Kern County city of Delano.
“Given the need to maintain the availability of xylazine as a veterinary medication, we need to have our regulatory framework and criminal code reflect the reality of what we see when people come in for treatment or, worse, are found dead from an overdose,” said Bains in the release.
Xylazine is especially dangerous when mixed with fentanyl because unlike fentanyl, it is resistant to opioid reversal medications like naloxone, which leaves emergency responders without an antidote when treating overdose patients.
Xylazine, also known as “tranq,” is not approved for use in people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently reported that xylazine is following the same path as fentanyl by spreading rapidly to western parts of the country from the Northeast and South, according to the press release. From 2020 to 2021, the South saw a 20-fold increase in xylazine-positive overdose deaths, the release said.
Ms. Bains’ bill unanimously passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 2 and was referred to the Business and Professions Committee.
Ahead of the recent committee approval, the Peace Officers’ Research Association of California—which represents law enforcement officers—submitted a letter in support of the bill, according to the press release.
“This bill adds common sense changes that give law enforcement and first responders better data to understand and fight xylazine with an eye toward future unknown threats,” said Brian Marvel, president of the association.
The bill would also allow the state’s Department of Public Health to create new drug testing equipment without additional California law changes, according to the press release.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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