The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team (MADGE) is continuing to see the significant impact illicit drugs has on our community.
In recent powder fentanyl and counterfeit pill seizures, MADGE has found the presence of xylazine, a non-opiate veterinary tranquilizer, which has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths nationwide. Because xylazine is not an opiate, the widely used overdose medication Narcan cannot be used to reverse its effects.
MADGE has seen a “staggering” increase in fentanyl seizures in the last 12 months. In 2022, MADGE reported a 3,000% increase in fentanyl seizures. This increase included over 17 pounds of powder fentanyl and 57,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.
As a central nervous system depressant, Xylazine can cause drowsiness, amnesia, slow breathing, and bring heart rate and blood pressure to dangerously low levels. This drug is not approved for use by humans, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Because the versions of fentanyl and other drugs being mixed with xylazine are manufactured by criminal organizations in clandestine labs, users have no way of knowing the potency of the drugs they are using or the presence of other harmful substances being used to “cut” or mix with the drugs.
Officials say releasing this information is intended to encourage users to seek help as well as deter others from experimenting with these extremely dangerous substances.
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