Illegal Opioids Increasingly Laced With Animal Sedative Xylazine – Kaiser Health News

Already dangerous illegal drugs in Chicago and elsewhere are reportedly even more dangerous now that the veterinary drug is part of the mix; the sedative is showing up in more autopsies of opioid-related deaths. A peanut butter recall, end-stage kidney disease, and more are also in the news.
Chicago Tribune: Opioids Laced With Veterinary Sedative Xylazine A Growing Threat To Chicago Drug Users 
A veterinary sedative called xylazine is increasingly showing up in the systems of people who die of opioid overdoses in Cook County, raising concerns that street drugs are becoming even more dangerous. Dr. Neeraj Chhabra, a medical toxicologist and emergency physician with Cook County Health, reviewed fentanyl-related death reports from the Cook County medical examiner’s office from January 2017 to October 2021. At first, xylazine — pronounced “ZY-la-zeen” — rarely showed up in tox screens. But by the end, about 1 in 9 fentanyl overdose victims had the drug in their systems. (Keilman, 3/31)
KEYE: What Is Xylazine? A Look At The Veterinary Tranquilizer Being Found In Counterfeit Pills 
Xylazine is not a “new” drug, though its prevalence in the illicit drug market is.“ Xylazine was initially developed in the 1960s and it was meant to be used in humans but in early testing they realized it was way too sedating of people,” said Claire Zagorski, program coordinator of the Pharmacy Addiction Research and Medicine Program at UT Austin. (3/31)
CNN: How Xylazine, A Veterinary Tranquilizer, Is Making Overdoses Even Riskier 
Among the most concerning changes in the illicit drug market has been the appearance of xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer also commonly known as “tranq” or “tranq dope,” said Naburan Dasgupta, an epidemiologist and senior scientist at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. … Xylazine is not approved for human use. It has heavy sedative effects like an opioid, but it isn’t an opioid, and it doesn’t respond to the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone. (Kounang, 3/17)
In other public health news —
ABC News: Skippy Recalls 161,692 Pounds Of Peanut Butter
Skippy Foods announced a voluntary recall of some peanut butter products due to the possibility that a limited number of jars may contain small fragment of stainless steel from a piece of manufacturing equipment, according to a statement released by the Food and Drug Administration. (Yamada, 3/31)
The Washington Post: Almost 800,000 Americans Are Living With End-Stage Kidney Disease
At least 783,594 adults in the United States are living with end-stage kidney disease, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It found that, from 2000 to 2019, new cases of end-stage disease increased by 42 percent and the number of people living with this stage of the disease (called prevalent cases) roughly doubled. (Searing, 3/31)
Fox News: Will Smith’s Oscar Incident Sparks Anger Management Discussion
After Academy Award winner Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars Sunday night in response to a joke about Smith’s wife, a worldwide discussion started about how to manage anger before it escalates to violence. "Chris Rock has no real understanding of what happened to Will Smith in the 90 minutes or so leading up to the incident. But there’s obviously something going on for Will. Chris’ joke, and his wife being humiliated in public like that, would’ve been the final straw," said Mike Fisher, psychotherapist and British expert in anger management. Fisher described the incident as a typical example of what unhealthy anger can do when we act in a fit of rage without thinking about the consequences of our actions. (Sudhakar, 3/31)
NPR: Food Prices Are Going Up — And At Levels Americans Haven't Seen In Decades
The United States Department of Agriculture released an update to its Food Price Outlook for 2022 and found that nearly everything one might ingest – whether it comes from the grocery store or restaurant – is going up in price. And yes, that's on top of the price increases consumers have already been forced to endure in the last year." All food prices are now predicted to increase between 4.5 and 5.5%," the USDA's Economic Research Service explained in the March report. (Romo, 3/31)
Stateline: More States Consider Bills To Prohibit Discrimination Against Black Hair
This year, more states are weighing measures to prohibit hair discrimination in work or school settings, joining 14 other states that have enacted similar laws over the past few years. For decades, Black Americans have been villainized and discriminated against because of their natural hair, whether they’re showcasing their hair texture or wearing protective styles such as braids, twists or dreadlocks. In many cases, employers have demanded Black people cut or change their hair or fired them for not doing so. (Wright, 3/31)
KHN: Black Students Experiencing Racism On Campus Lack Mental Health Support 
Three years ago, Lauren Bryant was walking across Appalachian State University’s campus with several other Black students when they were verbally assaulted with a racist tirade. “This guy in a pickup truck stopped at the light, rolled down his window, and just started calling us a bunch of N-words,” she recalled. It wasn’t the only time Bryant has had an experience like this at the overwhelmingly white campus in Boone, a town in one of North Carolina’s most conservative regions. Whether it’s the ubiquity of Confederate flags, Ku Klux Klan members handing out literature, or a parade of pickup trucks flying flags in support of President Donald Trump, she believes they’re all intended to signal that students of color are unwelcome there. (Newsome, 4/1)
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