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By Cassidy Morrison Senior Health Reporter for Dailymail.Com

21:18 07 June 2024, Updated 21:32 07 June 2024

Using any street drug has now become a game of Russian roulette as a police chief in town battles a new cut agent named ‘Rhino Tranq’.

As DailyMail.com first reported on the drug, commonly known as meditomidine, many cities are reporting a wave of overdoses where the drug is irreversible.

The sedative is 100 to 200 times more potent than xylazine, an animal tranquilizer used to increase the potency of everything from cocaine to heroin and fentanyl.

It doesn’t show up on test strips and can’t be treated with Narcan, making it a silent killer that neither police nor users can track.

Rick Lorah, deputy chief of criminal investigation in Erie, Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia, where more than 160 Rhino trunk overdoses occurred in just four days last month.

He said, ‘So if it’s happening in Philadelphia, it’s happening in New York, it’s happening in Pittsburgh, it’s happening here.’

In the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, drugs are openly used and sold, and many are in shock as a state.

He he said. The new drug dealers are ‘all cheaper than the drugs they sell. Each seems more lethal.’

Michigan has lost three residents since March after being contaminated with the tranquilizer, which is approved as a medication for cats and dogs.

And Chicago officials saw an ‘epidemic of overdoses’ in just a few days in mid-May. The drug was first found in the illegal drug supply.

But it’s a new addition to the supply of drugs, which most states are protective of and are still struggling to track how widespread it is.

Overdoses spiked in May and early June, and the drug was found in San Francisco, Indianapolis, Toronto, Canada, Maryland, and more.

The drug works on the brain differently than opioids like fentanyl, which bind to specific receptors in the brain.

When someone has overdosed on fentanyl or heroin, paramedics can administer the reversal drug Narcan, buying life-saving time for the person to seek further medical care.

But medetomidine, as well as xylazine, are alpha-2 agonists, which have no effect on Narcan. They are often called ‘zombie drugs’. People who take them often shake even upright or hover on the street in shock.

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As law enforcement tries to crack down on xylazine- and fentanyl-laced drugs, cartels and drug dealers see a new opportunity in meditomidine.

The drug cannot be detected by standard tests used to screen for heroin and cocaine, the deadly drug fentanyl.

It causes the heart rate to drop significantly, lowers blood pressure and slows activity in the brain, increasing the user’s risk of going into cardiac arrest.

These risks increase significantly when the drug is combined with another sedative such as xylazine in addition to fentanyl.

Dr. Daniel Cicarron, who has studied drug use for decades at the University of California, San Francisco he said.: ‘ Because the concern is sedation, when you’re on a sedating opioid like fentanyl, that can go in the wrong direction.

‘Now you have two tranquilizers, they’re a double depressant mix, we can call it, and that increases the risk of overdose.’

The Kensington neighborhood has been turned into an open-air drug market, according to Philadelphia officials Health warning about meditomidine Last month he said: ‘To date, all samples containing meditomidine have contained xylazine and fentanyl.’

Neither meditomidine nor xylazine is approved for human use; The two are not antidotes that can have dire consequences on the human body.

‘Meditomidine should not be used to reverse the adverse effects of meditomidine,’ Philly officials said, because those drugs cause very high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate.

Daniel Teixeira da Silva, Chief of the Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction Unit at the Philly Health Department; he said. Because the drug is so new in illegal supply: ‘We don’t really know the effect on people’.

In the year Xylazine, which entered the radar of health officials in 2018, is known to constrict blood vessels and cut off oxygen-rich blood flow to skin tissues. When tissue is deprived of oxygen, it can die, requiring excision of increasingly large skin lesions.

It is not clear whether meditomidine has the same anti-inflammatory effect, but it is known to cause constriction of blood vessels, which increases the risk.

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In addition to 160 overdoses in Philadelphia in four days, three people in Michigan have died with the drug in their system.

Meanwhile, Chicago officials saw an ‘epidemic of overdoses’ within days of Philadelphia’s massive bloodbath.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Drug Enforcement Administration first identified it in the city’s drug supply in late December.

Hayley Thompson, Drug Control Program Manager; he said.: ‘We have seen since then [medetomidine and its analog] It is found in 11 percent of the expected fentanyl samples, and it is worth noting that we are analyzing.

‘And right now, we don’t think a lot of people are aware that this drug is being distributed in an unregulated drug supply, which is why we’re trying to get this connection out as quickly as possible.’

Mexican drug cartels, particularly the Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels, have flooded the United States with fentanyl and other illegal, highly addictive drugs.

But at some point in the supply chain, perhaps initially in clandestine Mexican labs, or after the drugs enter the U.S., they are cut up and added to cheap, poorly formulated supplements to increase the opioid high.

Indiana Drug Enforcement Administration he said.: ‘I try to tell people when drugs get to Indianapolis… a drug dealer can change hands six, seven, eight times before they sell to somebody.

‘So whenever they change hands, anyone can put in whatever they want.’