On April 12, 2023, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), formally designated fentanyl adulterated or associated with xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States.
Xylazine is a non-opioid tranquilizer approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for veterinary use but not human use. This designation comes after careful review of the impact of xylazine on the opioid crisis, including its growing role in overdose deaths in every region of the United States.
Following his public declaration, the Administration will take steps to publish a whole-of-government response that includes evidence-based prevention, treatment, and supply reduction.
ONDCP convened an interagency working group to inform the development of the national response plan. The response includes work on xylazine testing, treatment and supportive care protocols, comprehensive data systems (including information on drug sourcing and supply), strategies to reduce illicit supply of xylazine, and rapid research (such as work on the interactions between xylazine and fentanyl).
The plan released today (July 11, 2023) focuses on sic pillars of action:
- Data Collection
- Evidence-Based Prevention, Harm Reduction, and Treatment
- Supply Reduction