A new drug called “tranq,” which is a combination of fentanyl and xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, is resistant to naloxone, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, but tranq is also known for causing users to develop wounds that leak fluids.
The problem is that the drugs persons are using have become more unsafe.
Windsor’s only safe place for drug use, Safepoint, will stop working at the end of December has made a person named Krzemien very sad. She helps people using drugs and thinks that without Safepoint, her clients are at a higher risk of dying.
Health Canada says that tranq is spreading quickly across Canada, and 75% of drug samples with xylazine are from Ontario. Since 2020, xylazine has been found in 184 drug toxicity deaths in Ontario, including two in Windsor.
Safepoint was used to help people with tranq wounds and to test the drug supply for safety. It is one of the few places in Windsor where you can test drugs for fentanyl, a powerful and dangerous opioid, but Safepoint will stop working in January.
Windsor’s Mayor, Drew Dilkens, was against Safepoint, saying the money should be spent on mental health and addiction support. The Ontario Ministry of Health is reviewing the situation, and they say that Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) sites like Safepoint need to build trust in their communities.
Krzemien believes stopping Safepoint’s operations damages that trust. She wants to keep people alive and breathing.
There are many hazardous things in the illegal drug supply, like xylazine, benzodiazepines, and even deadlier synthetic opioids like carfentanil. Health Canada contributed additional money to try to deal with the overdose crisis, but the drug supply keeps varying, making it hard to keep up.
The Toronto Drug Checking Service tests street drugs to find out what’s in them. They say it’ is important for people to know what they’re using so they can make harmless choices. The drug supply is getting stronger and more erratic.
Tranq is a big problem not only in Canada but also in 48 U.S. states. U.S. President Joe Biden calls the mix of xylazine and fentanyl a deadly threat. People using tranq develop wounds, and some have many sores on their bodies. The situation is so bad that some people have permanent damage or need amputations.
There’s not much research on how xylazine affects humans, and people are unsure why it’s added to drugs. The RCMP has known about xylazine in Canada’s drug supply since 2012, but because it’s a veterinary drug, it’s hard to enforce laws against it.
The drug situation worries people and some are scared because they do not know what is in the drugs. It is observed that the individuals who are not living in poverty or homeless are also affected. This is very concerning and needs immediate attention and solutions.