A formerly unknown drug, which the Frederick County Health Department warned the community about in July, has been identified as xylazine, according to a press release from the department.
Xylazine is a sedative and muscle relaxer that is used on animals, including horses, cattle and other animals. It is not safe for use by humans and can cause tissue damage when inhaled or injected.
The drug is known to be cut with heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. When injected, it can cause open wounds around the site of the injection. It can do the same when inhaled or snorted, causing the expulsion of nose tissue.
Xylazine can also cause blackouts and more intense withdrawal symptoms.
The Frederick County Health Department issued an alert to the public in July about the then-unidentified drug after seeing cases of tissue damage in Frederick County.
This substance has been linked to fatal overdoses in Frederick County. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) has identified xylazine in combination with other drugs in four overdose deaths in the county between April and August.
The OCME may identify additional cases.
“There are many more who likely have experienced significant tissue damage in the nose and other body parts,” Andrea Walker, director of the county Behavioral Health Services Division, wrote in a email. “We encourage those who may be in need of behavioral health treatment, wound care or other supports to contact the health department.”
Xylazine does not react to Narcan, but Narcan should still be administered in case of an overdose, as the drug is often mixed with other narcotics.
Xylazine is reported to be white or gray in color, and can turn pink when water is added. Other names it might be known by include Collateral Damage, Cardi B, Steph Curry, 550, Rampage and Black Mask.
The FCHD’s Syringe Services Program has a nurse on-site at 300B Scotty’s Bus Lane every Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The nurse can provide education, wound assessment and supplies.