St. Mary’s County Sheriff's Office And Health Department Alert Public To Danger Of Xylazine

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is warning the public of a sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with a powerful non-opioid animal sedative, xylazine – a deadly combination commonly known as “Tranq”. This dangerous illicit drug mixture has been found across the U.S. states, including in St. Mary’s County. 

Xylazine and fentanyl drug mixtures place users at a higher risk of suffering a fatal drug poisoning. Because xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone (Narcan®) will not work to reverse its effects. People who inject drug mixtures containing xylazine also can develop severe wounds involving necrosis—the rotting of skin tissue—that may lead to amputation. 

St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) encourages those who are using illicit substances to seek professional help for their substance use disorder. Help is available in the community. Individuals can be connected to local treatment options through the SMCHD website, calling 301-862-1680, or walking in Monday-Friday during business hours at the St. Mary’s County Health Hub. The Health Hub also offers the SMCHD Harm Reduction Program (HRP) to help mitigate the harms associated with drug use – such as overdoses, wounds, and infections – and encourage people into treatment when they are ready for it. The HRP provides infectious disease testing, narcan, and ways to test drug paraphernalia (such as pill bottles and syringes) for presence of fentanyl or other substances like xylazine. 

“Illicit fentanyl is already a dangerous drug, but when it is combined with xylazine, it becomes even deadlier,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Narcan may help to reverse the fatal breathing problem that fentanyl can cause but it won’t work on xylazine. If you’re using drugs, get help – treatment options are available and recovery is possible.”

“Drug addiction is a serious public health issue. St. Mary’s County residents need to be aware of xylazine and its dangerous effects. If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, please seek treatment through the resources provided by the St. Mary’s County Health Department and community partners before it’s too late,” Sheriff Steve Hall said.

For further information about the SMCHD Harm Reduction Program, visit 
For more information about programs and resources provided at the St. Mary’s County Health Hub, visit

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