WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, this week Senator Maggie Hassan and colleagues including Representative Chris Pappas, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Representative Annie Kuster introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to crack down on a highly dangerous sedative that poses a new threat in New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic.
Xylazine is an easily accessible veterinary tranquilizer that criminals are mixing with fentanyl to increase its potency and lower their production costs, and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a health alert about the danger of its usage. Xylazine causes depressed breathing and heart rate, unconsciousness, necrosis, and even death, and naloxone does not reverse its effects because it is not an opioid.
See below for coverage highlights:
By Janelle Chavez
US lawmakers are moving to classify xylazine, the animal tranquilizer that’s increasingly infiltrating illicit drugs, as a controlled substance.
Bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday in the House and Senate reflects growing concern over the highly dangerous sedative, commonly known as “tranq” or “tranq dope.”
[…]Despite reports about the alarming rise of xylazine, also called a “zombie drug,” federal law enforcement has not had the tools to regulate it.
[…]“Our bipartisan bill would take important steps to combat the abuse of xylazine by giving law enforcement more authority to crack down on the illicit distribution of this drug, including by putting stiffer penalties on criminals who are spreading this drug to our communities,” Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H, a cosponsor of the bill, said in the statement. “My colleagues on both sides of the aisle are seeing the impact of this deadly drug in their states, and we will continue working together to move this critical bill forward.”
WMUR: New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation is working to fight back against the drug xylazine. This is a sedative used by veterinarians, usually for large animals, but has recently become a new threat in the opioid epidemic, contributing to overdoses. Senator Maggie Hassan and Congressman Chris Pappas have both introduced legislation to impose stronger penalties and to make it easier for the DEA to track this drug. Also today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen questioning Attorney General Merrick Garland about how the Department of Justice is dealing with the threat of this new drug.
Senator Hassan: I think that this gives law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to hold dealers accountable for lacing all sorts of drugs with xylazine. We still, of course, need to devote appropriate resources so law enforcement has the people, and the budgets and the tools that they need to go after these folks.
NBC Boston/NECN: In New Hampshire, Senator Maggie Hassan and Congressman Chris Pappas introduced a new bill to crack down on xylazine, it’s an easily accessible veterinary tranquilizer that people are mixing with fentanyl to increase its potency and lower production costs of that drug. The State Department of Health and Human Services issued a warning about it; it can be deadly. Naloxone does not reverse its effects because it’s not an opioid. Senator Hassan says that the bill would take steps to combat xylazine by giving police more authority to crack down on distribution of the drug, which includes putting stiffer penalties on those selling it.
Manchester Ink Link: Pappas, Shaheen, Hassan introduce new bills combating Xylazine use
By Andrew Sylvia
On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) announced newly introduced House bills and Senate bills restricting the usage of Xylazine, a sedative that criminals have begun to mix with fentanyl, a deadly substance at the heart of the opioid epidemic.
Criminals have begun to use Xylazine (also known as Rompun), a veterinary tranquilizer, to increase the potency of their drugs and reduce production costs. Xylazine causes depressed breathing and heart rate, unconsciousness, necrosis, and even death, and naloxone (also known as Narcan) does not reverse the effects of Xylazine because it is not an opioid.
“Xylazine is hurting New Hampshire communities and contributing to the alarming rate of overdose deaths in our state,” Hassan said. “Our bipartisan bill would take important steps to combat the abuse of xylazine by giving law enforcement more authority to crack down on the illicit distribution of this drug, including by putting stiffer penalties on criminals who are spreading this drug to our communities. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle are seeing the impact of this deadly drug in their states, and we will continue working together to move this critical bill forward.”