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Open Access Highly Accessed Short Report

Xylazine (veterinary sedative) use in Puerto Rico

Rafael A Torruella

Author Affiliations

National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI) and Public Health Solution (PHS) 71 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010, USA

Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2011, 6:7  doi:10.1186/1747-597X-6-7

Published: 11 April 2011

Abstract

Human xylazine use in Puerto Rico merits particular attention for its unprecedented scale and depth. Although Puerto Rican injecting drug users (IDUs) have reported using this drug since the early 2000s, little is being done in the research and service delivery sectors as it is claimed that xylazine severely impacts the health of its users. This report provides information on xylazine use and its associated harms. Data from one semi-structured interview collected in New York City (2007-2008) as part of a larger research study with migrant Puerto Rican drug users is presented as a case study. Xylazine, a veterinary sedative, is an adulterant and complement to other drugs and its chronic use is reported to be associated with physical deterioration. Because human xylazine use has been reported in other locations outside of Puerto Rico, this substance could also emerge as an adulterant in other markets to the levels currently experienced in Puerto Rico. Research and interventions are needed to provide adequate services on the island, better understand how the use of xylazine affects its users, and to reduce the possibility of increased xylazine use on the state-side.