Senator Chuck Schumer joined law enforcement and medical officials from Wayne and Monroe Counties to call for a new plan to address the rise of a deadly drug in the Finger Lakes and Rochester area. This drug, called Xylazine or “Tranq,” cannot be prevented by Narcan and has been responsible for dozens of deaths in the past year. The drug, which can cause skin to rot, is often mixed with other drugs like heroin and fentanyl.
Schumer is urging the federal government to provide $537 million for local law enforcement, which Wayne County Sheriff Rob Milby says will help crack down on the distribution of Xylazine at the county level. This money will also help with investigations alongside neighboring counties, including Monroe, where Xylazine has become a crisis.
Xylazine is commonly used by veterinarians to tranquilize large animals and can be legally purchased. However, Senator Schumer accuses drug dealers of buying the drug from providers overseas in China and mixing it with other drugs. Schumer is also urging the FDA to work with the DEA to track down illicit sources of Xylazine coming through the Northeast and Upstate New York from overseas and border entry points.
Last year, there were 59 fatal overdoses in Monroe County involving Xylazine and three in Wayne County, with ten more currently under investigation. While Narcan doesn’t treat Xylazine overdoses, medical experts urge people to still use it on victims, as it can treat the other drugs mixed with it.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reports that the drug has affected drug addicts of all backgrounds and ages, with no particular demographic being centered. Senator Schumer’s proposed plan to combat Xylazine will need to be approved this summer, with the funds expected to arrive in the fall.
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