Sens. Marshall, Cortez, Masto, Grassley & Hassan Introduce Legislation to Crack Down on Xylazine

(Washington, D.C., April 3, 2023) – U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, M.D., joined his colleagues in introducing the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to crack down on the highly dangerous sedative causing fatal overdoses nationwide. Xylazine, also known as “tranq,” is an easily accessible veterinary tranquilizer that causes depressed breathing and heart rate, unconsciousness, necrosis, and even death. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently reported 23% of fentanyl powder contained the Xylazine drug in 2022. Despite alarming reports about the rise of Xylazine, the “zombie drug,” federal, state, and local law enforcement do not have the tools necessary to effectively track it or crack down on traffickers using it to increase their profits.

The Combating Illicit Xylazine Act would address this gap in federal law by:

  • Classifying its illicit use under Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act; 
  • Enabling the DEA to track its manufacturing to ensure it is not diverted to the illicit market;
  • Requiring a report on prevalence, risks, and recommendations to best regulate illicit use of Xylazine;
  • Ensuring all salts and isomers of Xylazine are covered when restricting its illicit use;
  • Declaring Xylazine an emerging drug threat.

“Our nation is being flooded with deadly drugs, infiltrating our communities and taking the lives of innocent Americans every single day. Law enforcement need the tools to crack down on drug traffickers coming into our country. We have to be able to keep up with the complex tactics these drug traffickers will use to spread these drugs and protect our communities and children,” Senator Marshall said.

“Drug traffickers are going to great lengths to pad their profits with dangerous drugs like tranq, and we need to empower law enforcement to crack down on its spread in our communities,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure the DEA and local law enforcement have the tools they need to get xylazine off our streets while protecting its important use as a veterinary tranquilizer.”

“Drug overdoses remain unacceptably high as cartels and traffickers continue to flood our nation with deadly and ever-changing poison. We cannot successfully prevent these tragedies with one hand tied behind our back. We must keep pace with the evolving tactics of the drug trade. This bill recognizes the dangers posed by the increasing abuse of animal tranquilizers by drug traffickers, and provides new tools to combat this deadly trend. It also ensures that folks like veterinarians, ranchers and cattlemen can continue to access these drugs for bona fide animal treatment,” said Senator Grassley.

“Xylazine is hurting New Hampshire communities and contributing to the alarming rate of overdose deaths in our state,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan bill would take important steps to combat the abuse of xylazine by giving law enforcement more authority to crack down on the illicit distribution of this drug, including by putting stiffer penalties on criminals who are spreading this drug to our communities. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle are seeing the impact of this deadly drug in their states, and we will continue working together to move this critical bill forward.”

Xylazine is essential in veterinary medicine with large animals, and while this legislation will help law enforcement crack down on its illicit use, it will also protect access for veterinarians, farmers, cattlemen, and ranchers by protecting the veterinary medicine use of xylazine. This legislation has been endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Nevada Cattlemen Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, United States Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, North American Meat Institute, Animal Health Institute, and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

The Combating Illicit Xylazine Act is cosponsored by Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

You may click HERE to read the full text of the bill.