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State trying to address Xylazine overdose crisis

In a bid to tackle the rising crisis of xylazine-related health complications, Governor Kathy Hochul’s office has declared that New York State will distribute free test strips to detect the presence of the potentially deadly sedative.


The strips will be accessible via the Office of Addiction Services and Support, the Office of Mental Health, and directly to the public. The initiative is part of the state’s aggressive measures to counter the increased incidence of overdose deaths attributed to xylazine, found often mixed with substances like cocaine or heroin.


The distribution will be facilitated by an ordering system in collaboration with NY MATTERS, permitting both care providers and residents to acquire these test strips. Amid the alarming spike in overdose fatalities, a proposed legislation, supported by state lawmakers, is under consideration to allow pharmacists to dispense these strips as well.

“Addressing the growing concern of xylazine’s presence is paramount and this move ensures important harm reduction tools reach those impacted by addiction, reinforcing our commitment to New Yorkers’ safety,” said Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, Commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports.