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Public Safety Alert "Tranq-Dope"

The Tompkins County Sheriff's Office has seen an increase in overdoses where Narcan has either not been effective or has required multiple doses. This same trend has been reported to us by local stakeholders. 

It is believed to be associated with the rise of a new drug called "tranq dope." Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer. It's not approved for humans but it is reported to be appearing in the heroin and cocaine supply. Xylazine, a sedative, slows people’s breathing and heart rate and lowers their blood pressure, which can compound some effects of an opioid like fentanyl or heroin. Xylazine is not an opioid so administering naloxone won't reverse a deep xylazine sedation - you won't see the dramatic awakening that is common when naloxone is administered to someone who has overdosed after using an opioid. 

Giving Narcan is still critical though because xylazine is often mixed with an opioid. If someone has taken xylazine, the immediate goal is to make sure the person's brain is getting oxygen. Medical professionals recommend starting rescue breathing after the first dose of Narcan. It may help restart the lungs even if the person doesn't wake up. 

The trend of mixing opiates with other depressants and/or synthetics other than xylazine has also been reported. The mixed substance may present in different colors.

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