Zombie Drug? The Threat of Mixing Fentanyl and Xylazine

Start Your Addiction Recovery Today

Find Out How

Common Questions About Addiction Treatment

Check Out Our FAQ

Verify Your Insurance

Looking for effective treatment that’s also affordable? We accept most major insurance providers. Get a free insurance benefits check now.

Check Your Coverage​

Questions about treatment?

Get confidential help 24/7.
Reach out for more details about:
  • How we can help

  • Our location & programs

  • Insurance & payment options

Call 866-881-1184

US authorities are playing a constant game of whack-a-mole with drug traffickers. As they crack down on one drug, another pops up to take its place as authorities’ attention is diverted. Some of these new drugs can have weird and even terrifying effects.  

Rainbow fentanyl was one example; the zombie drug Xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer that is mixed with fentanyl, is another. It’s called the zombie drug because one of its side effects is that the user’s skin rots off. It’s increasingly being found in the supply of opioids like heroin and fentanyl.  Xylazine sores can appear anywhere on the body. They start as small, red bumps but can develop into deep, open sores if not cleaned and dressed in fresh bandages daily. 

In this article, we’ll go over what you need to know about this terrifying new drug Xylazine. 

What Is a Zombie Drug? 

The term “zombie drug” colloquially refers to a drug combination that typically includes xylazine and fentanyl, two potent substances that, when mixed, can have severe, debilitating effects on users. This nickname stems from, on the one hand, fentanyl’s profound stupor-like state it induces in users, and on the other, how xylazine causes skin to rot. 

Xylazine, known on the street and to law enforcement as “tranq,” was originally developed as a sedative for animals such as horses and deer. Starting in 2020 it’s increasingly found its way into illicit drug markets, particularly as an adulterant in opioids. It is not approved for human use in the United States, making its side effects on humans largely undocumented and potentially dangerous.  

The combination of xylazine and fentanyl is particularly dangerous because xylazine is not an opioid and therefore does not respond to opioid overdose reversal drugs like naloxone. This complicates the treatment for overdose, as the typical life-saving measures may not be effective against the xylazine component of the mixture. This could potentially lead to more overdose deaths.  

Why Do They Call It Zombie Drugs? 

This mixture of xylazine and fentanyl is so dangerous because xylazine can be used to enhance fentanyl’s already-powerful sedative effects. It can create a more intense high, which may increase the drug’s addictive potential. This can lead to higher user dependency, resulting in repeat customers for dealers in the drug market. 

This enhanced sedation, combined with the skin-rotting effects of xylazine, is why people have taken to using the term “zombie drug” to describe it.  

Why is Tranq Dangerous? 

“Tranq,” also known as “tranq dope,” was never meant for human consumption. One of the most alarming risks associated with tranq consumption is nasty skin sores and infections. People on Tranq can actually experience their flesh rot away while they are still alive. Tranq skin wounds, also known as “xylazine wounds,” can develop rapidly and are often difficult to treat. This is a big reason tranq is also known as “the zombie drug.” 

Because drug dealers are increasingly cutting heroin and fentanyl with xylazine, there is an added danger that the drug is harder to detect. Xylazine is not typically screened for in standard drug tests. This can make the zombie drug more appealing to users who are subject to regular drug testing but still want to use opioids. 

Finally, because it’s not an opioid, xylazine is completely unaffected by naloxone, making it harder to resuscitate people who have overdosed. 

Looking For Substance Abuse Treatment?

Get confidential help from our addiction treatment specialists in Orange County. Call to join our rehab program today!

Call 866-881-1184

Zombie Drugs in Los Angeles 

The zombie drug tranq is on the rise in Orange County. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has found that xylazine may be in up to 4% of the Orange County fentanyl supply. According to the LA Times, xylazine has been showing up in the drug supply going back at least five years. The Times goes on to report that most of the zombie drug samples were found in a counterfeit blue pill known as an M30.  

According to the DEA, xylazine was found in at least 30% of the fentanyl powder in 2023. This is an increase from 25% in 2022. 

Opioid Drug Treatment in Orange County 

If you are abusing zombie drugs or synthetic opioids, you need to immediately seek treatment at a treatment center in Southern California. Treatment centers in Orange County implement a multi-faceted approach that includes medical detoxification, where the physical presence of the drug is safely managed and removed from the body under professional supervision. 

This includes counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups that help individuals understand the root causes of their addiction and develop coping strategies to prevent relapse. The treatment for addiction to the “zombie drug” requires a tailored approach that addresses both the potent effects of fentanyl and the additional complications introduced by xylazine. 

Verify Your Insurance

Looking for quality substance abuse treatment that’s also affordable? South Coast accepts most major insurance providers. Get a free insurance benefits check now.

Check Your Coverage​

Opioid Addiction Treatment at South Coast 

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for addiction to zombie drugs like fentanyl or the animal tranquilizer xylazine, South Coast Behavioral Health is here to help. The zombie drug xylazine is an illicit drug made from synthetic opioids. The first step in treating such an addiction is a medical detox. This means using professionally administered medication to manage withdrawal symptoms from the zombie drug xylazine.  

Our medical detox program in California is staffed by caring and compassionate professionals who can provide you with medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms.  

If you require more targeted treatment, gender-specific detox programs are available. If you are a man you can take advantage of medical detox for men in Irvine, CA; for women, there is medical detox for women in Huntington Beach, CA. 

Treatment for substance abuse takes place along an entire spectrum of care. Along that entire spectrum are various behavioral therapies, support groups, and the use of medically-assisted treatment (MAT). 

Residential Treatment in California 

After detoxing, you’ll proceed to inpatient treatment in Orange County California. There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be dealing with.  

For those who desire gender-specific treatment, we offer residential treatment facilities in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach. There, patients can benefit from 24/7 medical care and monitoring while living at the facility full-time. 

In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services. 

Partial Hospitalization in California 

After completing inpatient treatment, many desire something that provides more structure and support than outpatient care, but with extra space and time to oneself. For that, we offer Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach 

Partial hospitalization offers a good balance between inpatient and outpatient programs, making it ideal for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for several hours each day, returning to their homes in the evening.  

This way, they can recover without putting their lives on hold. 

Intensive Outpatient Treatment in California 

For those leaving inpatient residential treatment or partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are yet another gradual step forward on the road to recovery. 

With a focus on group therapy, individual counseling, and education, clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach can meet three to five days a week. Each session lasts three hours.  

This level of care requires the least amount of attendance at our behavioral health and substance abuse treatment center.  

Start Today

The impact of xylazine and the drug threat to the public cannot be ignored. If you or a loved one are struggling with zombie drug addiction but wonder how long addiction treatment takes or have other questions, call us at 866-881-1184. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help give you an idea of what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions.

Read More About addiction Treatment & Recovery
Start Your Recovery Today at South Coast

At South Coast, our experts are dedicated to providing comprehensive information to help you make well-informed decisions for your health and happiness in recovery.

Contact us today if you are ready to begin your journey to recovery. Our team is available around the clock, so feel free to call us at any time.