Lawmakers Targeting Controversial Drug Found in NYS Overdose Cases
Earlier this month I wrote about concerns held by New York State Health Officials regarding a controversial drug that has been linked to recent overdose cases in New York. Well now the same drug is on the radar of lawmakers not just in Albany but in Washington D.C as well.
The controversial drug that has received this attention is called xylazine and the concern stems from the current opioid epidemic ravaging the nation. The presence of opioids and in particular the inclusion of fentanyl has made these drugs even stronger and now the strength of these drugs has been amplified again because of dealers' inclusion of xylazine now.
The controversy around xylazine now though is not so simple though. Particularly skilled and expert individuals in a very specific field are coming to the defense of the drug and addressing fears about what could come to fruition if this situation is not handled carefully.
Who Are The Individuals Voicing Their Concerns to Our Lawmakers?
The one very specific group of individuals that are speaking out to our lawmakers in government are none other than veterinarians. Why veterinarians? Because, the drug xylazine is a drug that has been used by veterinarians in their profession for numerous different cases they face.
The drug itself is a sedative particularly used on larger animals like cattle. In particular, Veterinarian Carie Telgen stated that xylazine has shown to be a drug used for procedures on cattle such as 'cesarean sections, abdominal surgeries...' (via spectrum news1).
Veterinary Concern and Government Strategy to Address Xylazine Issue
The concern that veterinarians now face is very simple, the availability of the drug and what it may take to obtain it after government intervention.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has classified the drug as a 'major threat' and state senators have begun to voicing their stance on the drug.
New York Senator James Skoufis stated recently...
It’s really important that we designate xylazine as a schedule III depressant controlled substance so law enforcement are able to go after these drug dealers and get these drugs off the street.
While the concern of our lawmakers is warranted, members from the New York State Veterinary Medical Society have spoken out about the danger of confronting this issue in such a manor.
Tim Atkinson of the NYSVMS stated that government intervention of this nature could not only alter the supply chain for xylazine but that it could also...
lead to disruptions in that, shortages, and it could definitely lead to an increase in price.
In addition, Dr. Carie Telgen stated and more importantly made the important distinction of the difference between xylazine used by Veterinarians and what has been found in the confiscated opioids gathered by law enforcement. This key difference is that veterinarians predominantly use the drug in its liquid form whereas law enforcement has found it in its powdered form. The powdered form is the issue.
Finding Common Ground to Address the Problem at Hand
Other issues exist concerning veterinarians and potential government intervention, however, there is good news here as well. It appears that a proposal is being put together by congressional leaders in Washington that will find a compromise.
The compromise is of the government being able to go after the illegal distributors of the narcotics and getting these dangerous drugs off the streets, while at the same time protecting veterinarians and their ability to obtain the drug for their work.
Senator Skoufis in response to this idea admitted that he was previously 'unaware' of the veterinary concerns surrounding this issue. In addition, he also stated that he'd 'be open' to similar legislation being put together in New York that would likewise protect veterinarians and their usage of the drug.