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Flesh-eating drug is making Fentanyl even deadlier in Florida


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the American public of a sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine. Xylazine, also known as “Tranq,” is a powerful sedative that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for veterinary use.  

“Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” said Administrator Milgram. “DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 States. The DEA Laboratory System is reporting that in 2022 approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine.”

Andrew McKenna , Deputy Director of NCADD Westchester says, “xylazine intensifies and prolongs the physical and psychological effects of opioids and other drugs its added to. Hence, its appeal to people with substance use disorder, looking for the most powerful escape they can find”. Andrew says, “xylazine can have dangerous side-effects which may lead to an infection condition called necrosis which may lead to amputation of limbs and even death”.  Learn more about this flesh-eating infection along with the signs and symptoms of xylazine by clicking here.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00ytAK4gvjg

Florida Attorney General  Ashley Moody shares latest report on fentanyl

Last week Florida Attorney General  Ashley Moody presented the “Florida Medical Examiners’ Drugs in Deceased Persons Annual Report” and shared that over 6,200 people have died from fentanyl in Florida in 2022.  

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgpBWr70M3A

Opioid related highlights from the report include:

  • 8,012 opioid-related deaths were reported.
  • 9,230 individuals died with one or more prescription drugs in their system.
  • The most frequently occurring drug found in decedents was fentanyl at 6,230.
  • 471 occurrences of Xylazine was reported.

This table below provides some of the data reported on fentanyl:

Source: https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MEC/Publications-and-Forms/Documents/Drugs-in-Deceased-Persons/2022-Annual-Drug-Report-FINAL-(1)

Nitazenes are presenting an emerging threat in Florida

Back in 2022, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an emergency rule to add eight deadly synthetic opioids to the Schedule I of controlled substances in Florida. The drugs, categorized as nitazenes, have no medical use and can cause adverse health effects, including overdose deaths. These synthetic opioids are linked to at least 15 deaths in Florida since 2020, including two in Pasco County. 

The eight synthetic opioids Attorney General Moody added to the Schedule I of controlled  substances in Florida include:

  • N-Pyrrolidino Etonitazene aka Pyro
  • Etodesnitazene
  • Isotonitazene aka ISO aka nitazene
  • Protonitazene
  • Metonitazene aka NIH 7606
  • Butonitazene
  • Metodesnitazene aka Metazene
  • Flunitazene

Forensic labs in Florida first began identifying cases of nitazenes in 2020. Since then, 268 cases have been identified; however, the prevalence of these substances likely exceed those  reported.

The number of nitazene cases rose to 171 in 2021, compared to 13 found in 2020. As of March 18, 84 cases had been identified in Florida. Nitazenes may appear in many common forms, including powder, liquid and counterfeit prescription pills.

Miami, Florida DEA Reports digital drug dealers using emoji codes

U.S. DEA Administrator, Anne Milgram explained how drug traffickers use social media and other digital methods for illicit sales.

“Criminal drug traffickers have found a new tool to pump poison into our communities. They have turned our smartphones into a one-stop shop to market, to sell, and to deliver deadly drugs. Drug traffickers are using mainstream social media apps. 

Deanne L. Reuter, special agent in charge of the DEA Miami, Florida division said: “Certain emojis that we have uncovered in our investigations show that drug traffickers and our youth are using emojis to communicate regarding drugs, buying drugs and trying to obtain drugs.” 

This reference guide below is intended to give parents, caregivers, educators, and other influencers a better sense of how emojis are being used in conjunction with illegal drugs. Fake prescription pills, commonly laced with deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine, are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone.

Source: https://www.myfloridalegal.com/sites/default/files/2022-09/general-information-fast-facts-fentanyl.pdf

Should naloxone be given in the case of an overdose involving xylazine?

The CDC points out that Naloxone should be given in response to any suspected drug overdose to reverse any possible opioid effects. Naloxone will not reverse the effects of xylazine. However, because xylazine is often used with opioids like fentanyl, naloxone should still be given. It’s important to call 911 for additional medical treatment, especially since the effects of xylazine may continue after naloxone is given.

In conclusion, Andrew McKenna says “The number of drug overdoses in this country is staggering, and they continue to grow as drug cartels, traffickers, and dealers find creative ways to exploit people suffering from the disease of Substance Use Disorder. To combat this assault on our communities, we too must become more creative.

Traditional education and prevention work is important and must become more robust and better funded. Harm reduction approaches as outlined in this article must also be pursued. Recognizing that addiction is a disease of the brain and not a moral failing is perhaps the most important starting point in lowering the stigma of addiction and encouraging people who are struggling to ask for the help they most desperately need. After all, it is a matter of life and death. And bear in mind, people can’t recover if they’re six feet under. When will it end? I don’t have that answer. But we must continue the fight, practice self-care to avoid burnout, and always believe that there is hope.”








Jason Adams is a freelance writer and a lifelong learner with a deep curiosity and interest to learn about the latest insights, data and trends. He uses that curiosity along with his experience to write about subjects that will inform, educate and empower our society at large.

What is the new drug being mixed with Fentanyl? How is Florida doing in keeping Fentanyl out? What can a person do if they take fentanyl? What is xylazine, and how is it bad for you? U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Health Tips, Parenting in Florida


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