First known 'tranq' death reported in Whatcom County

Whatcom County has reported its first-known Xylazine-related overdose death.

Xylazine is also known as "tranq" or the "zombie drug." It's an animal tranquilizer typically mixed with fentanyl to make it more potent. 

It is referred to as the "zombie drug" because its users are into real-life zombies, right down to loss of basic mental function and the rotting flesh. Wounds caused by Xylazine kill the skin and underlying tissue, turning the area black and hard. If untreated, it can lead to amputation. 

The death was reported in a Whatcom County adult, but no other age or location information was given. Their toxicology results showed multiple drugs were present, including fentanyl and methamphetamines, in addition to Xylazine.

Seattle has already seen at least three deadly Xylazine overdoses in 2024. 

Police in Seattle are warning the public that now the drug is being sold as a standalone, instead of mixed with fentanyl as has been seen in the past.


New 'zombie drug' tranq sold as standalone for first time, Seattle Police say

Seattle authorities are warning the public about Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer that has already been linked to three overdose deaths in 2024.

What to know about Xylazine

  • Xylazine, also called tranq, is a powerful animal tranquilizer and is never safe for people.
  • It is often mixed with fentanyl.
  • It reduces brain activity and dangerously reduces a person's breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • It can cause severe skin wounds that are difficult to heal. These wounds can occur anywhere on the body, not just at injection sites.
  • Xylazine is not an opioid, so naloxone spray (brand names are Kloxxado or Narcan) will not work to reverse it. Naloxone should still be given if an overdose is suspected because naloxone will reverse fentanyl’s effects.

If you think someone is having an overdose

  • Give naloxone if you have it.
  • If the Naloxone (or Narcan) does not work, that could be a sign of a Xylazine overdose. Naloxone does not work on Xylazine, so provide mouth-to-mouth if you can do so safely. The key here is to keep the person breathing. 
  • Make sure to call 911.

More on tranq in Washington

Zombie drug: Police, addiction services warn horrific new fentanyl mix 'Tranq' has arrived in the Seattle area

'It’s pretty terrifying:' Founder of drug recovery program's warning about 'tranq' dope

'Tranq:' US names veterinary drug mix of xylazine, fentanyl an 'emerging threat'

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