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The Climb

Addressing the Xylazine Crisis: ARS at the Forefront

Aug 11, 2023 10:35:45 AM / by Ascension Recovery Services

The surge in substance use, including xylazine, is causing significant harm to individuals and communities, leading to an increase in drug overdoses. There is a need for the development of innovative addiction treatments tailored to these modern substances.

Fortunately, Ascension Recovery Services is at the forefront of behavioral health solutions, helping organizations implement programs to combat substance use challenges specific to your locale. Let's walk through this nationwide crisis and later explore how we can help your behavioral health organization address the xylazine crisis in particular.


Xylazine, commonly known as tranq, is a powerful sedative and muscle relaxant widely used in veterinary medicine. However, in recent years, the misuse and abuse of xylazine have become a major concern in many parts of the world. The misuse of xylazine, known as the xylazine crisis, has led to severe health problems, including addiction, overdose, and death. One of the main reasons xylazine has become so popular as a drug of abuse is that it is relatively cheap and widely available.

Xylazine is sometimes mixed with other drugs, such as fentanyl and heroin, to enhance their effects, which can make it even more dangerous. Drug samples containing opioids were examined, and xylazine was identified in almost 80% of them, according to a survey of eight Maryland syringe service programs conducted in 2021 and 2022.

According to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram, the emergence of xylazine in combination with fentanyl constitutes the most perilous drug threat the country has ever confronted. In 2022, the DEA found that 23% of the powdered form of fentanyl and 7% of the pill form contained xylazine. The DEA has detected such combinations in 48 out of 50 states.


In mid-2022, the White House stated that xylazine was identified in almost 11% of all fentanyl-linked deaths, significantly higher than the mere 3% reported in early 2019. This indicates a concerning upward trend in the prevalence of xylazine in fentanyl-related fatalities over the past few years. It is prudent to note that the presence of xylazine in these cases may worsen the severity of the already dangerous effects of fentanyl, resulting in a higher risk of death.

According to research, the occurrence of overdose deaths associated with xylazine has been particularly high in the northeastern United States. For example, over a 5-year period, drug overdose fatalities involving xylazine have surged from 2% to 26% in Philadelphia, while in 2021, xylazine was implicated in 19% of all drug overdose deaths in Maryland.

Such a trend indicates that the use of xylazine alongside fentanyl has become a national phenomenon that demands immediate attention and concerted efforts to mitigate its deadly consequences. In light of these alarming statistics, it is vital to take vigorous measures to combat the proliferation of these lethal substances in our communities.


The havoc these substances are wreaking on our communities cannot be ignored, especially with the added public safety alert of fentanyl and xylazine combinations issued by government agencies. In the face of this crisis, Ascension Recovery Services stands as a beacon of hope and a vital partner in the fight against this complex issue.

This challenge of the xylazine-fentanyl crisis demands a proactive and well-informed response from organizations and individuals working to create behavioral health centers nationwide.

Building and operating a successful behavioral health center requires a comprehensive approach that considers the specific challenges posed by new substances. Ascension Recovery Services understands these challenges and specializes in creating customized solutions that integrate cutting-edge treatment methodologies. We collaborate with you to design programs that address current substance use issues and remain adaptable to future shifts in the landscape.

Our approach goes beyond merely mitigating the effects of substance use. We adhere to the notion that one must take into account one's overall health, including their mental and social states. By partnering with Ascension Recovery Services, you're not just building a treatment center but fostering an environment that nurtures long-lasting recovery and community resilience.


The battle against emerging substance use problems requires a collective effort. Ascension Recovery Services invites you to stand with us as we confront this crisis head-on. Together, we can build behavioral health centers that address the current challenges and remain resilient in the face of future uncertainties. Contact us today, and let's make a difference together - email us at info@ascensionrs.com or call 304.503.3448.

Topics: Addiction Recovery, Overdose, xylazine, fentanyl

Ascension Recovery Services

Written by Ascension Recovery Services

Ascension Recovery Services is a team of experts and specialists with years of experience working with individuals and organizations aiming to open behavioral health organizations.

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