top of page

'Tranq,' aka xylazine, may worsen California overdose crisis

A new drug — a sedative normally used for animals — is increasingly making its way into the illicit drug trade in California, and local officials are concerned its arrival could worsen an already alarming overdose crisis.

Traces of xylazine, commonly known as “tranq,” have been found to have contributed to a small number of overdose deaths in San Francisco and Los Angeles, indicating the drug commonly used by veterinarians to tranquilize animals has already started to make its way into illegal street drugs here.

In San Francisco, four people who died between December and January were found to have low levels of xylazine in their systems, prompting the city’s Department of Public Health to issue a warning on Thursday about the drug, noting that it could be mixed with other drugs like fentanyl and heroin, unbeknownst to the user.

Dr. Gary Tsai, director of substance abuse prevention and control for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said traces of the drug were found in the system of one fatal overdose victim in the county in 2021.

Salvador Hernandez


bottom of page