Friday, September 1, 2023

Innovations in addiction technology--illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) combined with xylazine

 The fight against addictions is complicated by the fact that those who sell addictive goods can be innovative on many levels. (In the case of legal addictive substances such as nicotine, we are becoming accustomed to that competition, e.g. in connection with the growth of non-combustible vaping.)

Here's an article about innovation involving illegal opioids.

The emerging fentanyl–xylazine syndemic in the USA: challenges and future directions, by David T Zhu, Joseph Friedman, Philippe Bourgois, Fernando Montero, Suzanne Tamang, Lancet, August 24, 2023 DOI:

"Xylazine, a non-opioid analgesic and sedative approved only for non-chronic veterinary use, is spreading across unregulated North American drug markets and becoming increasingly implicated in opioid overdoses. Between 2018 and 2021 in the USA, estimated fatal drug poisonings involving xylazine, often co-occurring with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, increased from 260 to 3480 cases.1 This use of xylazine takes place in the context of the ongoing US opioid overdose crisis, which is expected to claim an estimated 1·2 million additional lives by 2029, barring urgent substantial policy reforms.2 The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy identified fentanyl adulterated or associated with xylazine (FAAX) as an emerging threat and in July, 2023, issued a response plan leveraging the Emerging Threats Committee and other vital stakeholders.3 Although this is a welcome strategy that sets out the federal government's plan to address xylazine, further non-punitive efforts and public health interventions are needed from health-care systems, policy makers, and community leaders to address the longer-term structural factors driving this crisis.


"Although more evidence is needed about why xylazine is combined with fentanyl, some reports suggest that by adding xylazine as an adulterant for synthetic opioids such as IMF, manufacturers can potentially maximise profits and distinguish their brand in the market, attracting a wider customer base.6,  7 This has most notably been observed in Philadelphia, PA, USA—regarded as an epicentre of the emerging xylazine crisis in mainland USA—where over 90% of the city's street opioid supply has shifted to FAAX.8 Further, xylazine has been described by people who use drugs as lengthening the sedative effects of IMF—solving the disadvantage of fentanyl's short duration of effect—thereby postponing craving and physical withdrawal symptoms"

No comments: