PHOENIX (Dec. 21, 2022) – The Arizona Poison System, part of the Center for Toxicology & Pharmacology Education and Research (CTPER) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix, and Arizona public health and safety agencies are warning all Arizona healthcare providers about the risks of illicit drugs, including fentanyl, being contaminated with xylazine. It is added in hopes of prolonging the euphoric effects of the illicit drug (e.g., fentanyl) but can result in life-threatening coma and respiratory failure.
“Xylazine is a very powerful veterinary tranquilizer that has been increasingly identified as an adulterant in street drugs, and at autopsy in drug-related deaths across Arizona,” said Daniel Brooks, MD, medical director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. “We are working with public health and safety agencies to warn Arizona healthcare providers and medical examiners about this dangerous drug.”
“Xylazine is not routinely tested for in most healthcare settings and can even be missed at autopsy unless specific testing is ordered,” said Steve Dudley, PharmD, DABAT, managing director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.
To our healthcare and laboratory partners — should xylazine be detected in a patient, pill, or forensic sample, please forward the information to the Opioid Assistance and Referral (OAR) Line at CTPER by calling 888-688-4222 to better understand the prevalence of xylazine across Arizona.
These results can be reported to the Arizona Poison System by calling 1-800-222-1222, 24/7/365. Poison center staff can assist in the evaluation and management of all poisoning-related injuries and illnesses, including xylazine, fentanyl and other illicit drugs, as well in prescription medications and occupational/environmental exposures.
About Center for Toxicology & Pharmacology Education and Research (CTPER) and the OAR Line
CTPER is a collaboration for education and research in toxicology, clinical pharmacy, and public safety between the Poison and Drug Information Centers at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and Banner University Medical Center Phoenix. The Center provides a multi-organizational, collaborative center of excellence with goals to provide expertise, education and research in the areas of medical toxicology, pharmacology, medication safety, and disaster preparedness. The Opioid Assistance and Referral (OAR) Line provide free, 24/7, confidential (HIPAA-exempt) phone consultation for all opioid-related questions and illnesses that patients and providers might have. It is provided by the Arizona Department of Health and operated by CTPER. The OAR Line is staffed by trained nurses and pharmacists, with 24/7 physicians on call to speak with other providers.
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