Dear Senators Cortez Masto and Grassley,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 993, the “Combating Illicit Xylazine Act.”
Synthetic fentanyl is cheaper than normal opioids, 50 times more deadly than heroin, and 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Depending on the method of administration and other factors, as little as two milligrams of illicit fentanyl can be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 107,735 Americans died from drug poisonings between August 2021 and August 2022, and 66% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Recently, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued an alert warning of a sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer. Xylazine, also known as “tranq” or “tranq dope,” is making the deadliest drug crisis our country has ever faced even worse. According to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA in 2022 contained xylazine.
Your legislation will take the appropriate steps to address this crisis by adding xylazine to the Controlled Substances Act, listing it as a Schedule III drug for illicit use. The bill would allow ranchers and large animal veterinarians access to xylazine as its use is a critical part of their work, while at the same time allowing the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to track and combat its illegal use as a street drug.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, thank you both for your leadership on this important issue. If I can provide any additional information about this bill, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.