As the opioid crisis continues to wreak havoc across the United States, newer and stronger substances are beginning to take over the drug landscape. One of the most recent examples is tranq dope, a combination of drugs that triggers dangerous psychoactive effects. This substance has been making headlines due to the frightening consequences it can have if misused. Addiction experts who have seen tranq dope fall into the wrong hands are now cautioning people against the effects of this substance.
To help increase public awareness about this drug, it’s crucial to understand what it is and how it can affect the body. Knowing more about tranq dope can also help ensure that individuals who are living with addiction receive the help and support they need to make a full recovery. Here is everything you need to know about the substance and how it’s redefining addiction.
What Is Tranq Dope?
Tranq dope is a synthetic drug that contains a cocktail of toxic substances. The main ingredient is xylazine, a common animal tranquilizer that reduces heart rate and slows breathing. Drug dealers typically mix xylazine with heroin and fentanyl — two highly powerful opioids — to create tranq dope. Once xylazine enters the mix, these already deadly opioids become even more dangerous. This is because the animal sedative interacts with fentanyl and heroin in a way that increases their potency.
Xylazine, which is administered to large animals such as horses, is not approved for human use in the United States. However, this hasn’t stopped dealers from sneaking it into tranq dope. Countless online vendors have even made xylazine available in powder form rather than the liquid form that is typically available to veterinarians. Because xylazine can be purchased at a low price, dealers see it as an opportunity to maximize their profits.
This isn’t the first time drug dealers have mixed animal tranquilizers with other addictive substances. However, the growing popularity of tranq dope has increased media awareness of this illicit practice. The use of Tranq dope has already reached an estimated 39 states, prompting the FDA to issue an import alert about the substance.
How Tranq Dope Interacts With the Body
Users who take tranq dope tend to experience a specific set of side effects. One of the most common effects is severe, painful skin wounds. In more serious cases, users may develop patches of rotting or dead flesh, leaving them extremely vulnerable to infection. If left untreated, the damaged scar tissue can completely cut off the blood supply to the affected limb. This can result in the limb needing to be amputated.
Unfortunately, the list of effects tranq dope can have on the body doesn’t end there. Because the main substance in this drug is an animal sedative, many users also experience slowed breathing and a reduced heart rate. Other side effects include low blood pressure, drowsiness, reduced blood sugar levels, contracted pupils and an overall slowing down of the central nervous system. It’s also worth noting that tranq dope slows the wound healing process, which can cause skin wounds to persist for longer than usual.
Another point of concern regarding tranq dope is its unresponsiveness to naloxone. Naloxone, which is used to treat opioid overdose, has proven to be a lifesaving medication for countless victims of drug addiction. However, because xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone is ultimately powerless against it. This raises an alarm that those who overdose on tranq dope won’t be able to receive the lifesaving treatment they need in an emergency.
Ramifications of Tranq Dope
Because tranq dope is a relatively new drug, addiction specialists are still figuring out how it impacts the body and how to best approach treatment for it. There is no official detox protocol for tranq as there is for more commonly abused drugs, such as heroin and other opioids. Because of this, the withdrawal process can be even more severe than it is for other substances. Many treatment centers are therefore cautious about treating patients who have developed an addiction to tranq.
One of the biggest issues with tranq dope is that it isn’t a controlled substance. This means that it isn’t regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) the way more widely used substances are. With the DEA lacking the authority to make legal decisions about tranq dope, this new drug has the potential to run rampant without proper regulation. This could have devastating consequences for those who struggle with addiction and the people close to them.
Another major obstacle is that there is currently no way to test for the presence of xylazine in a patient’s system. This can be problematic if a patient who has taken tranq checks into a treatment facility. In most rehab centers, it’s standard protocol to test each patient to determine which drugs are in their system. If xylazine does not show up on a drug test, this can prevent addiction specialists from administering the proper treatment to the tranq-addicted patient.
Mapping a Path Forward
As tranq dope addiction continues to grow, it’s the top priority of addiction specialists to improve treatment options and ensure that those struggling with tranq addiction have a chance at recovery. To accomplish this, it’s vital to increase awareness of tranq dope and provide patients with the resources they need to overcome their addiction.
First, the withdrawal symptoms associated with tranq need to be understood better. Once treatment experts are more familiar with how this drug affects the body during withdrawal, they can design a detox program that meets the specific needs of tranq patients. Every substance has its own set of effects on the user, which means a unique detox and treatment plan needs to be designed for those recovering from each type of drug.
It’s also important to understand that recovery doesn’t look the same from one person to the next. Each patient is on their own journey toward conquering drug addiction. When treating patients who are addicted to tranq dope, seeing them as unique individuals with a specific set of needs can help ensure that their treatment plan is tailored to their needs and goals.
Finding a Way Out of Drug Addiction
There is still a lot to learn about tranq dope and xylazine, the primary agent in the drug cocktail. By enhancing public knowledge about this new synthetic drug, officials and treatment experts alike can help provide those struggling with tranq addiction with the help they need to make a full recovery. Those who personally know someone who is living with tranq dope addiction might feel like they don’t know where to turn. However, once more people are aware of the many damaging effects of this synthetic drug, help can be made more readily available to addiction victims and their loved ones.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction — whether it’s an addiction to tranq dope or a different substance — know that professional help is never out of reach. Our highly trained addiction treatment experts in the greater Boston area are equipped to provide the support you or your loved one needs. Because we recognize that every patient is on their own journey, we design custom-tailored treatment plans to meet the specific needs of each patient who checks into our treatment center.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about available treatment options or are ready to embark on the road to recovery, we’re prepared to help guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about how we can empower you to break free from drug addiction and live your best life.