What is Xylazine?

Xylazine is a substance used by veterinarians as an anesthetic and analgesic to treat animals such as horses and cattle while performing invasive treatments.

Is Xylazine used for human treatment?

No. It is illegal for human use. 

  • There is no reversal agent. (Narcan will not reverse a Xylazine overdose.)
  • Some people do not even know it is in another drug they have purchased. 
    • Added to another drug, such as Fentanyl, heroin or “speedballs” to create an additive effect.
    • Added to low quality, inexpensive drugs so users believe the drugs are good quality

Synergistic effects

Over recent years, xylazine has emerged as an adulterant in recreational drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl and in speedballs (a cocaine and heroin/fentanyl mixture). These effects may create synergistic toxic effects in humans. Therefore, fatalities among drug users may increase due to the use of xylazine as an adulterant.

Co-administration of xylazine and heroin or fentanyl produces a stronger high than administration of heroin alone. Research shows the similar effects of xylazine and heroin, may create toxic effects in humans. Use with cocaine, opioids or a combination may potentiate or prolong the effects of these drugs, which can lead to adverse consequences. The risk of a fatality may increase with use of drugs adulterated with xylazine, especially when found in combination with opioid-related drugs. 

Some effects of Xylazine

Skin lesions
Cell death
Early aging

Xylazine Overdose

Brain stops
Heart stops
Breathing stops

It has increasingly become a substance misused by people internationally. It can be swallowed, inhaled, smoked, snorted, or injected.

Xylazine Deaths in State of Maryland


2021 (January – May)

Number of Deaths