WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) announced newly introduced House bills and Senate bills restricting the usage of Xylazine, a sedative that criminals have begun to mix with fentanyl, a deadly substance at the heart of the opioid epidemic.
Criminals have begun to use Xylazine (also known as Rompun), a veterinary tranquilizer, to increase the potency of their drugs and reduce production costs. Xylazine causes depressed breathing and heart rate, unconsciousness, necrosis, and even death, and naloxone (also known as Narcan) does not reverse the effects of Xylazine because it is not an opioid.
“Xylazine is hurting New Hampshire communities and contributing to the alarming rate of overdose deaths in our state,” Hassan said. “Our bipartisan bill would take important steps to combat the abuse of xylazine by giving law enforcement more authority to crack down on the illicit distribution of this drug, including by putting stiffer penalties on criminals who are spreading this drug to our communities. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle are seeing the impact of this deadly drug in their states, and we will continue working together to move this critical bill forward.”
“As we continue to see xylazine being mixed with fentanyl, heroin, and other deadly drugs, it’s critical we take action to crack down on illegal use,” said Pappas. “This legislation would track the manufacture of xylazine, which is legally used as an animal tranquilizer, and ensure law enforcement has the resources needed to crack down on illegal drug traffickers. I hope that this legislation will be swiftly brought to the House floor for a vote, and I’ll continue working across the aisle, and alongside law enforcement and public safety experts, to craft comprehensive solutions that will help combat our ongoing addiction epidemic.”
“The prevalence of Narcan-resistant xylazine has exacerbated the substance use disorder crisis in New Hampshire and across the nation. The level of danger this creates for those who use it, either knowingly or not, is incredibly high and far too often turns deadly,” said Shaheen, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds anti-opioid grant programs. “Our communities have endured the unimaginable and overwhelming grief of losing loved ones to the fentanyl epidemic for too long, and the introduction of xylazine is exacerbating this public health crisis. I’m glad to partner with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on this new bill that would classify xylazine as a Schedule III drug to help get it out of the hands of everyday Granite Staters and Americans. As chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies working to combat the substance use disorder crisis, I’ll continue efforts to stop the flow of these illicit drugs from reaching our communities.”
“Fentanyl and xylazine can be a lethal combination, and it is making New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic even worse,” said Colonel Nathan Noyes of the New Hampshire State Police. “This bipartisan bill from Senator Hassan, Representative Pappas, and Senator Shaheen will take crucial steps to help law enforcement go after the illegal use of this drug and help save lives.”
Suspected Manchester opioid overdoses increased 22 percent during 2022 compared to 2021 and deaths were up 41 percent on a year-by-year basis. Those annual figures were the highest in Manchester since 2016 and 2018, respectively.