Do we really need even more dangerous drugs, Berkshire County? According to a media statement from the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, that's exactly what we're getting right here in our own community.

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The D.A.'s Office is issuing a public health advisory, warning the community about the presence of Xylazine in the local drug supply. According to the media statement:

Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) at Brandeis University noted a significant percentage of opioid samples testing positive for the presence of Xylazine, especially in Western Massachusetts. MADDS found the drug in both powder and counterfeit pain pills. The Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab finds Xylazine frequently used as a cutting agent.

What exactly are the dangers of Xylazine? Good question. First of all, Xylazine is a drug used in veterinary medicine as a sedative with muscle relaxant properties. It is commonly used on cows, sheep, cats, dogs, etc. And it is approved by the FDA for veterinary use only.

In humans, Xylazine can cause central nervous system depression, respiratory depression, hypotension, and even death. Needless to say, when Xylazine is combined with other drugs such as opioids like Fentanyl, the effects could be tragic.

Xylazine can cause unresponsiveness or decreased consciousness, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, and reduced breathing. When combined with other sedating drugs such as opioids, there is an increased risk of overdose or death.

The Berkshire District Attorney's Office asks that everyone learn the signs of overdose and act immediately - call 911, administer Naloxone, perform rescue breathing, and stay with the person until help arrives.

District Attorney Andrea Harrington weighed in on the matter in the statement:

 I urge people who use drugs to be cautious with their intake and never use alone. Sharing and raising awareness about what is in the local drug supply is a proven harm reduction measure to prevent tragedy.

Just a heads-up, Berkshire County. When it comes to drugs, there is no such thing as an overabundance of caution. A special thanks to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office for helping spread the word.

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