Commonwealth of Virginia
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Jason S. Miyares
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Richmond, Virginia 23219
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Attorney General Miyares Joins 39-State Bipartisan Coalition to Protect Communities from the Dangers of Illicit Xylazine
RICHMOND, Va. – Attorney General Jason Miyares today joined a bipartisan coalition of 39 state 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.
Today's letter follows 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.
"Xylazine will decimate our country if Congress fails to take quick action to combat this emerging threat and save invaluable lives,” said Attorney General Miyares. "Recently, the DEA noted that a kilogram of powdered xylazine can be easily purchased online from Chinese suppliers for only $6-$20. This provides traffickers and Cartels with a cheap mechanism to increase their profits and retain dependent customers.”
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 xylazine and protect our communities, Attorney General Miyares and the coalition emphasized the importance of the measures outlined in the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act, which includes:
- Classifying the illicit use of xylazine as a Schedule III drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act;
- Allowing the DEA to track the manufacturing and sales of xylazine to ensure that it is not diverted;
- Requiring the U.S. Attorney General, acting through the DEA and in coordination with the FDA Commissioner, to submit a report to Congress detailing the prevalence, risks, and recommendations on how to regulate the illicit use of xylazine; and
- Ensuring all salts, isomers, and other forms of xylazine are also covered when restricting the drug's illicit use.
Joining Attorney General Miyares in sending today's letter are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.