Xylazine in E-Cigarettes Raises UK Mortality Concerns

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    The recent UK study reported by The Guardian highlights the alarming trend of Xylazine, a potent animal sedative, being found in e-cigarettes and other illegal drugs, which has led to a high mortality rate of 69%. This finding is raising significant alarm among public health officials and authorities in the UK.

    Background on Xylazine

    Xylazine, commonly used in veterinary medicine for its sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant properties, poses serious risks when misused due to its effects on respiratory and heart rates. The concern escalates when Xylazine is mixed with substances intended for human consumption, especially in the illicit drug market.

    Study Findings

    The study conducted by King’s College London indicates a rising number of deaths linked to Xylazine since 2022. According to an article in the Addiction journal, Xylazine was present in the toxicology reports of 16 individuals, with 11 fatalities. In most of these cases, the deceased had combined Xylazine with potent opioids. This study points out the dangerous lack of awareness among users about the contents of their e-cigarettes or drugs, increasing the overdose risks.

    Additionally, if injected, Xylazine can cause severe physical effects, including large open skin ulcers that might necessitate amputation in severe cases.

    Government Actions

    Reacting to these findings, the UK government is poised to take strong action against the misuse of Xylazine. Advised by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, plans are underway to categorize Xylazine as a Class C drug. This classification means that anyone caught supplying Xylazine could face up to 14 years in prison, along with fines, highlighting the serious measures the UK is adopting to tackle this public health threat. This situation underscores the need for heightened surveillance and control of drug adulteration to protect public safety.