State health officials are warning that a tranquilizer normally used for veterinary purposes is showing up in street drugs in the Piedmont.
Xylazine has been found in more than one in four samples of street drugs tested in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Public Health.
It’s almost always found mixed with heroin, fentanyl or other illicit opioids.
Xylazine is used as a sedative for animals. In humans, it can put people to sleep for long periods of time but can also have side effects including painful ulcers, abscesses and other wounds.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug is being added to either enhance the effects of the opioids or to increase the weight of what’s being sold.
But users may have no idea that it’s present.
State officials say Guilford, Randolph and Surry were among the seven counties where the most recent samples of street drugs were found to have Xylazine.