Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) today sent a letter on behalf of a bipartisan group of 39 state and territory attorneys general calling on Congressional leadership to pass the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act (H.R.1839/S.993). This Act would provide critical measures to combat the widespread illicit use and trafficking of xylazine and help prevent xylazine-related deaths.
The letter from the attorneys general 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. The White House recently declared fentanyl-adulterated or -associated xylazine (FAAX) an “emerging threat” to the nation.
“Xylazine is a growing danger to communities across our nation. With a record number of overdose deaths, we must confront this new threat,” wrote the attorneys general in the letter. “We agree that Congress must act quickly to classify the illicit use of xylazine under Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The Combating Illicit Xylazine Act provides critical tools that will enable the DEA to track its manufacturing, prevent diversion, and mandate analysis and reporting on the illicit use of xylazine.”
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. 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 FAAX in communities and keep people safe, the bipartisan coalition of attorneys general urge Congress to pass the important measures outlined in the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act.
Attorneys general from the following states and territories signed the letter: 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, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
# # #
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is the nonpartisan national forum for America’s state and territory attorneys general and their staff. NAAG provides a community for members to collaboratively address issues important to their work and resources to support attorneys general in protecting the rule of law and the United States Constitution.