A major shift is underway with California's mental health system
TRANQ CRACKDOWN: Newsom proposed new legislation Tuesday to classify xylazine as a controlled substance in California. The animal tranquilizer, often called tranq, has been increasingly cut with fentanyl, The Biden administration designated the combination an “emerging threat” last Spring. This is the latest step in a larger 1 billion effort by the state to address the opioid overdose epidemic, reports POLITICO's Forest Hunt.
Xylazine-positive overdoses have risen across the country from 2021 to 2022, though so far most of the deaths have been in other parts of the country. Tranq deaths rose over 1000 percent in the South from 116 to 1423 and have also topped 1000 in the Northeast. Overdoses on the West Coast rose from four in 2021 to 34 in 2022, including four in San Francisco in the past year.
Tranq commonly rots users' skin and sometimes requires amputations. When combined with opioids, it is also resistant to naloxone — the drug used to revive opioid users.
Florida, West Virgina, Pennsylvania and Ohio schedule and regulate tranq to different degrees. A federal bill to research the drug is still awaiting final passage. The American Veterinary Medical Association backed a federal bill last spring that would protect its legitimate medical use and schedule the drug at level 3. That’s the same as ketamine, another veterinary drug.
Newsoms’ office has not finalized the exact bill text and said details will be released closer to the next legislative session. The bill will allow xylazine “for legitimate veterinary use” in the state.