MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile’s Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed cases of xylazine and fentanyl, known as “Tranq” when mixed, are being found in Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
The DEA has issued a public safety alert saying mixing xylazine with fentanyl “is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier.”
Xylazine is used to tranquilize large animals, and it’s the main drug found in animal tranquilizers.
Michael Burt with Mobile’s Drug Enforcement Administration says he sees at least a hundred cases of “Tranq” as well as seeing xylazine mixed with other drugs like methamphetamine. He explains the purpose of “Tranq” is to make the high someone may get from fentanyl to last longer.
“It’s used as a cutting agent to actually increase the profits from drug dealers,” said Burt. “So they’re cutting it with this drug, and it intensifies the high. One of the things that is important to know that it assists a non opiate. The Narcan has almost no effect on a person who may be ingesting this.”
Virginia Guy with the Drug Education Council says the effects of the drug can have long lasting damage to the body when it’s injected.
“It’s vasoconstrictive and it causes skin lesions,” explained Guy. “It can cause gangrene and it can even cause amputation of limbs. You know, a lot of people have referred to it as kind of the Frankenstein drug.”
Guy explains that xylazine is not meant to go inside the human body since it is not a controlled substance meaning tranq is more deadly than fentanyl.
“We know how dangerous fentanyl is,” said Guy. “And not a day goes by that we don’t hear about somebody overdosing from fentanyl. So now when they’re mixing xylazine in with it and calling it tranq, we’re making a bad situation even worse.”
Guy says she wants the community to be on high alert since fentanyl is already harming many people along the Gulf Coast. People who’ve battled or lost a loved one from it are hoping sharing their experience hopefully help someone else who’s going through the same thing.
Recovering addicts such as Kelsei Shipe and Roxanne Bush used to use fentanyl and have overdosed. They want to let people know that it gets better.
“I’ve seen so many women and men even that have passed away from this,” said Shipe.
“I just want to be able to help somebody else that feels that emptiness every single day, you know, and know that there is a way out from that,” said Bush.
Fentanyl has even impacted our local leaders, like the Mobile County Sheriff’s spokesperson Lori Myles, who lost her son, Harrison, to fentanyl in September of last year.
She explained this upcoming weekend is going to be hard for her as this is the first Mother’s Day she’s spending without her son.
“You’re not alone,” she explained. “There’s help for you. Don’t be ashamed. It’s nothing to hide from.”
“I have two other sons that are depending on me,” Myles further explained. “They’re grown, but they also had a relationship with him. They also are hurting. So just being with them and us supporting one another is going to be a huge help for me this weekend getting through it. But they’re what keep me going.”
“We need to make sure that people know about this and they know the dangers and they talk to their loved ones about this,” said Guy.
According to Guy, the first reported case of Tranq was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.