How can xylazine mixed with opioids increase risk of overdose death?
Xylazine, a sedative used in veterinary medicine for large animals like horses and cows, is not approved for human use, but it has been increasingly found in fatal opioid overdoses.
When mixed with opioids xylazine can affect the respiratory system, making the symptoms of an opioid overdose much worse by slowing down your breathing much faster than with just opioids alone.
Narcan® (naloxone), a medicine that can reverse an overdose, may not be as effective when xylazine is present. This can mean a higher risk of death.