Opioids laced with animal tranquilizer being linked to overdose deaths in Metro Detroit

Crisis continues with no end in sight

The people pumping deadly opioids into Metro Detroit communities have created an even more dangerous mix that involves a substance usually found only at veterinary offices.

The mix had officials very concerned Friday (June 9).

“We wanted to bring to your attention a major health crisis that has been developing across the country,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer.”

The opioid crisis continues on and on with no end in sight. Bouchard pointed out the new, deadly problem parents must know about as Xylazine is being mixed with fentanyl.

The person popping the pill is rolling the dice, not knowing if the drug is laced with fentanyl. And now that person has no idea they are also putting animal tranquilizers into their bodies, risking overdose.

“The problem with that is it’s a terrible drug on the human physiological makeup,” Bouchard said. “It basically begins to desecrate and disintegrate your skin over time.”

Xylazine is not a controlled substance that Michigan Representative Kelly Breen says that has to change.

“This is something though that we need to take immediate action,” said Breen. “I’m sorry to say that my family lost a very dear friend to fentanyl overdose, and this is worse.”

Law enforcement believes the two drugs are being mixed outside of the country and smuggled in.

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.