LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A new public safety alert this week from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns that xylazine — commonly known by the street name “Tranq” — is spreading across the country, posing a severe health risk for people who might take it without even knowing.

“Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” according to Anne Milgram, DEA administrator. “DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 states. The DEA Laboratory System is reporting that in 2022 approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine.”

People who inject fentanyl mixed with xylazine — which is a powerful tranquilizer used by veterinarians — can die from drug poisoning or develop severe wounds. Necrosis — the rotting of skin or other human tissue — has been reported, and that can lead to amputation.

“Because xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone (Narcan) does not reverse its effects. Still, experts always recommend administering naloxone if someone might be suffering a drug poisoning,” the DEA said.

In Southern Nevada, health officials said xylazine cases “are not yet prevalent.” Metro police have not replied to 8 News Now inquiries sent on Tuesday.

Drug cartels in Mexico are primarily responsible for most of the fentanyl trafficked in the U.S., according to the DEA. The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel get their chemicals from China.

“Tranq,” is a powerful sedative that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for veterinary use. Xylazine has also been called “Zombie Drug.”

The Southern Nevada Health District said it has only one report of a death caused by xylazine, and that came in 2020. Fentanyl was also present in the individual who died.

“The Southern Nevada Health District’s current surveillance efforts indicate that xylazine cases are not yet prevalent in the local drug supply, but we are working to expand our agency’s surveillance capabilities. This includes using the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Rapid Drug Analysis and Research Program (RaDAR) to enhance our strategies and equip ourselves with the necessary tools to respond effectively,” SNHD said on Tuesday.

The Nevada Hospital Association distributed the DEA’s concerns in its weekly report to inform hospitals of the problem.

8 News Now reported the concerns over xylazine on Feb. 27, when the Yuma County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Office reported the concerns. Reports in Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York were publicized much earlier, but the DEA’s warning this week shows the spread of the fentanyl-xylazine mix has appeared in just about every state.

In New York, concerns have spread to heroin use, and drugs are being tested for the presence of xylazine.

Since our Feb. 27 report, the FDA has banned the import of xylazine.