New York lawmakers' proposed bill would make 'tranq' a controlled substance

They're like zombies: Men, and women stiffly slumped over and stuck somewhere between asleep and unconscious. 

While it's well-known heroin and fentanyl are causing the drug stupor now commonly seen on the streets, lawmakers in Albany say xylazine use -- or what is known on the streets as "tranq" -- is growing. 

Even though it's been in the headlines and the CDC has been warning of the danger, tranq isn't considered a controlled substance in New York. But some lawmakers are looking to change that. 

Xylazine is a sedative meant for large animals, that not only puts people out but eats them up, leaving open sores and disfigurement. It can be easily obtained through a vet, leading Skoufis to sponsor a bill changing that.  

"What drug dealers are doing more and more of is lace heroin and fentanyl with xylazine, to really enhance its effects," Skoufis said. 

There's a couple of reasons why tranq is spreading so fast according to the DEA: it’s cheap to buy for drug dealers and when they get caught with it, they won’t get in trouble because it’s not a controlled substance. Then, when they cut it with fentanyl, it increases drug dealers' profits and attracts new customers. 

If Skoufis' bill -- which he says has bipartisan support-- is successful, tranq would be classified as a Schedule III Controlled Substance. That gives law enforcement legal grounds to go after the xylazine dealers directly, instead of waiting until it's already cut with other drugs. 


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Xylazine, a powerful animal sedative often called "tranq," is frequently added to fentanyl. Some users say the combination gives a longer-lasting high, while also causing severe skin wounds.

The only thing standing in the bill's way, according to Skoufis, is the far left, who don't want another law that will put more people in jail.  

"I'm a Democrat who's more in this moderate lane," Skoufis said, "that believes that bad people should be sent to jail if they do bad things. And this certainly fits that category."