WBAP News Talk Radio: Deadly New Drug Mixed in Casual User Drugs

Apr 10, 2024

This interview first appeared on WBAP.com.

A warning about a deadly new street drug goes out to casual or weekend drug users, and parents of kids who may be tempted to try an unknown pill or another street drug. Former DEA/Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Michael Brown is warning of crisis now in play with a drug commonly called “the zombie drug” – xylazine; a powerful relaxant, used by veterinarians, but now being mixed in common street drugs, including fentanyl; already mixed in most street drugs, but with xylazine now mixed in as a way to stretch product in cocaine, heroin and potentially, marijuana. When injected, xylazine eats at human flesh; when inhaled or smoked, it’s believed it can do the same, destroying lungs, brain, and nervous system.

Brown says drug dealers are buying xylazine from the web and mixing it to stretch their products, but it also extends the high normally experienced, and is much more powerfully addictive than fentanyl. He warns parents if children or teens have had even a few pain pills after surgery, the temptation to get more on the streets, sold as legitimate pharmaceuticals, can be more powerful than prior warnings about fentanyl’s ability to kill unsuspecting users. In fact, zylazine is more deadly to humans than is fentanyl. Brown is concerned about “weekend warrior”, or, casual drug users ingesting it without knowledge it’s in another product.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 states; about one quarter of all fentanyl seized in 2022 contained xylazine. Symptoms of xylazine ingestion are sedation, difficulty breathing, dangerously low blood pressure, a slowed heart rate, infected wounds that will not heal, severe withdrawal symptoms and death.

Xylazine is not an opioid, but the CDC warns naloxone should be used on a patient in the event of suspected drug overdose, as very often xylazine ingestion is combined with an opioid substance. Xylazine is causing increasing numbers of deaths across America, and in just five years, says Brown, has become a common threat as an additive in any street drug. He suggests children, teens and adults who may have become addicted to pain medication even in small amounts discuss addiction with their doctor for help, as illegal drugs once pure are often no longer what is sold, deadly added ingredients more likely now.


Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rigaku Analytical Devices.

Be sure to check out Michael's podcast 'The Opioid Matrix,' where he has a 360-degree discussion with all angles contributing to the current opioid crisis our communities face.




Michael W. Brown is the global director of counter-narcotics technology at Rigaku Analytical Devices. He has a distinguished career spanning more than 32 years as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Most recently he was the DEA Headquarters staff coordinator for the Office of Foreign Operations for the Middle East-Europe-Afghanistan-India. Prior to that he served as the country attaché in India and Myanmar providing foreign advisory support for counter narcotic enforcement. He also spent 10 years in Pakistan as a special advisor to the US Embassy on various law enforcement issues. Michael is a graduate of the United States Ranger Training Battalion and has a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Technology and Management from the University of Eastern Michigan.

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