The White House on Wednesday designated fentanyl mixed with the animal tranquilizer xylazine to be an emerging threat to the United States, CNN reports.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), said the move marks the first time any administration has declared a substance to be an emerging threat to the nation.
“By declaring xylazine combined with fentanyl as an emerging threat, we are being proactive in our approach to save lives and creating new tools for public health and public safety officials and communities across the nation,” Gupta said in a statement. “To parents, loved ones, community leaders, and those affected by xylazine use: I want you to know that help is on the way.”
The administration has 90 days to coordinate a national response from the time it announces an emerging threat. ONDCP is convening an interagency working group to inform the development of the national response plan, the White House said. The response will include 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).