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Public health warns 'Zombie drug' is circulating in Guelph

An ambulance is shown in a file photo. (CP24) An ambulance is shown in a file photo. (CP24)
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Xylazine – an animal tranquilizer detected in an increasing number of opioid-related deaths in Ontario – has been identified in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region, the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy warns.

In an alert posted on Friday, the drug strategy says xylazine, also known as “tranq” or “Zombie drug,” does not respond to naloxone, increasing the risk of fatal overdose.

Rita Isley, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health community health director, said while many drug can cause lesions or abscesses when injected, the affects of xylazine are often more severe.

“We are seeing that those lesions are much more significant, can lead to in depth tissue damage and could also lead to amputation and or death if it’s not treated properly,” Isley said. “And we’re seeing it more frequently in people who have been using drugs with xylazine in it, versus people who are using other injectable type drugs.”

Public health recommends carrying naloxone and never using alone to reduce the risk of overdose.

The Consumption and Treatment Service Site (CTS) at Guelph’s Community health Centre is open Monday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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