For Immediate Release
May 18, 2023
Michael S. Garrity, Director of Communications
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Concord, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella today joined a bipartisan coalition of thirty-nine attorneys general in urging Congressional leadership to pass the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act (H.R.1839/S.993), which would provide critical measures to combat the widespread illicit use and trafficking of xylazine and help prevent xylazine-related deaths.
"Right now, illicit xylazine is proving to be a fast spreading, deadly threat all across our country. Here in New Hampshire, we are actively working with our local, State, and federal law enforcement partners to stop the spread of this extremely dangerous drug, but we need every possible resource available to help us in our fight," said Attorney General Formella. "It is crucial that our federal government move rapidly to take action and address this life-threatening drug, which has made the nation's fentanyl crisis all the more deadly."
Today's letter comes following a surge in overdose deaths nationwide related to xylazine, a potent veterinary medication that has been widely mixed with opioids like fentanyl and is easily obtainable online. Over the past few months, multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have issued public alerts about the dangers of xylazine. Most recently, the White House declared fentanyl-adulterated or -associated xylazine (FAAX) an "emerging threat" to the nation.
Xylazine is only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a veterinary medicine used to sedate and relieve pain in large animals. In humans, xylazine is known to depress breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and cause unconsciousness, necrosis, and even death. Xylazine is not an opioid, thus existing medications like naloxone are not effective in reversing the drug's effects even if used with opioids.
According to the DEA, there was a dramatic increase in xylazine-related overdose deaths across the United States between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of 1,127 percent in the Southern region, 750 percent in the Western region, 516 percent in the Mideast region, and 103 percent in the Northeast region. Additionally, in 2022, approximately 23 percent of fentanyl powder and seven percent of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine. To prevent the proliferation of FAAX in communities and keep people safe, Attorney General Formella and the coalition emphasized the importance of the measures outlined in the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act, which includes:
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New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301