Drug dealers using veterinary medicine to hook more addicts, and people are dying

Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. – A drug made to treat animals is now being used by drug dealers to hook more addicts and it’s killing people.

The drug is called Xylazine and it’s being mixed with fentanyl. It’s a deadly combination that has put Duval County at the top of a list no county wants to be on. More people are dying here than in any other county in the state.

According to the Duval County Health Department, 138 people have died so far this year from taking Xylazine

Even though Duval County is smaller than most of the other counties on the list. It has far more overdose deaths this year than, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Volusia counties.

Xylazine is non-FDA-approved for human consumption, it’s FDA-approved for veterinarian purposes.

The folks who are addicted are seeking to extend the high, so adding the tranquilizer, xylazine, to fentanyl can extend the length of the fentanyl effects.

Susan Pitman, the founder of Drug Free Duval, says they’re able to pinpoint where most of these xylazine overdoses are happening in our county by zip code.

The most have happened in neighborhoods with the 32218 zip code, the Northside. It’s where 24 people have died.

Thirteen have overdosed in zip code 32210, followed by 12 in 32244 — both on the Westside.

And seven people in each of these three zip codes, 32209, 32246 and 32250 have OD’d on Xylazine.

If you’re sitting in your office, you can look to your left or your right and the chances that someone next to you is either directly, personally, or a family member is suffering from some of these issues, is real. And it doesn’t matter the educational level, socioeconomic situation, ethnicity, or race, this is hitting all of us.

Lives can be saved if someone who finds a person has overdosed, had Narcan on them.

The medication can reverse the effects of overdose. You can get a Narcan package by signing up for a FREE online training session offered by Drug Free Duval at the end of the class they will mail you one.

And starting next week for the first time ever, Narcan will be available over the counter at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Rite Aid stores nationwide.

Each carton has a suggested retail price of $45 and contains two doses of the lifesaving drug.

About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.