A new drug called “Tranq Dope” is raising alarms in the Miami Valley because it is a combination of opioids and a drug used to sedate animals.
“We don’t expect it to be too long before it comes right up I-75 into the Miami Valley,” Charles Patterson, health commissioner, Clark County Combined Health District, told News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott on Friday.
There have already been 18 deaths from opioid use in Clark County this year, and Patterson said he fears the count will increase with a new drug entering the market.
Xylazine is the main drug used in Tranq Dope, most commonly found in veterinarian’s offices as a tranquilizer for animals.
“It’s a sedative, a muscle relaxer for animals, such as cattle,” Wendy Doolittle, CEO at McKinley Hall Inc. addiction center in Springfield. “So, it’s not approved for any human consumption.”
Patterson said the Xylazine has been watered down and spread as a similar to heroin type of drug.
When mixed with either opioids or fentanyl, the combination can be lethal.
Doolittle issued an ominous announcement: “I think we are about to see our death rate increase as a result of this being on the streets.”
Counties in Ohio are beginning to test overdose victims for the drug.
In Hamilton County, the coroner’s office reports that 15 overdose victims that have tested positive for Xylazine in their systems.
Patterson said the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office has registered those deaths and has been able to perform screens for toxins in the blood.
Narcan won’t reverse the effects, Doolittle said, and those who survive using the drug are left with skin that starts to turn black at the injection site and then the skin starts to deteriorate, to break down. And it literally looks like just black decayed skin that continues to just kind of grow and peel could result in amputations.
Tranq Dope is so new the Ohio Department of Health still has several questions they want answered, such as whether the drug is the same from state to state in terms of composition and how much tranquilizer is in each dose.