Last updated: September 25, 2023
We’ve been hearing about it for decades, nonetheless, the phrase, “zombie apocalypse,” may soon be taking on a new connotation entirely. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is being brought back into the light as the hub of a crisis making international headlines. But, the epidemic is spreading across the country devastating communities from Massachusetts to the state of Washington—and all points in between.
Tranq, also known as the zombie drug, is a large animal tranquilizer that was never approved for human use. So, who in the world would ever consider marketing it to them?
Drug cartels have mules deliver it across the border, that’s who.
Tranq is sought out by some in its normal form, however, it’s often mixed with the synthetic opioid, fentanyl. Which, if you aren’t aware is an extremely lethal drug in its own right. Users aren’t even aware of the additive, I mean, after all, the drug dealers don’t want to give away the secret ingredient that is giving their customers that extra kick.
Humanity? What humanity?
There’s no other way to look at it, drug cartels are all about the bottom dollar—literally. It makes no difference whether or not the drugs they’re peddling are fit for human consumption. As long as they’re addictive and people consume them long enough to get hooked. Then, they keep coming back for more. It’s all sunshine and lollipops—until the dealers’ customers start dropping dead that is.
They easily solved that problem when it arose though. Colorful pills appearing as candy are manufactured to peddle their wares to children.
It cuts down on the loss.
Meanwhile, city streets are being covered in filth as homeless communities continue to grow en masse. People wander around dazed, shooting up drugs openly in the street. As time passes, more of those streets are becoming littered with bodies as well. Addicts, overtaken by the effects of the drug, lie comatose in the filth—or worse.
And, that is worse, as in, scores of them are dying.
The epidemic rages on
Americans have been aware of the opioid epidemic for over two decades now. In all that time, the number of annually reported deaths due to drug overdose dropped from the previous year only once… four years ago now, in 2019. The decrease in deaths was nominal, but we rejoiced! A glimmer of hope could be seen on the distant horizon.
The pandemic crashing down upon us in 2020 did its best to squelch it out though. As the uncertainty and lockdowns continued, some people turned to drugs to help them “escape.” There was a lot of stress to deal with—lost jobs, separation from loved ones, kids home from school… The list could go on. Moreover, simultaneously, the open border situation brought a flood of illegal drugs into the country. It continues, unchecked, to this day.
The two disasters worked hand in hand causing death and destruction on both fronts. Covid has been brought under control, however, the drug situation hasn’t been curtailed in the slightest. In fact, a staggering 107,662 overdose deaths were reported during 2021. Fentanyl was recorded as the cause in 72,484 of them and you can be certain that tranq is listed as a contributing factor in many of them.
Why do they call it the zombie drug?
The medical term for tranq is xylazine. It’s a non-opioid sedative analgesic medication. It was created in 1962 by the Bayer company. It was designed to be used as a central nervous system depressant. Veterinarians still regularly prescribe it in smaller doses to relieve pain or as a muscle relaxant for animals such as dogs, cats, and horses. Larger doses make it a dependable tranquilizer. It was never intended for human use.
Fentanyl isn’t the only drug on the black market that it’s secretly added to either. Other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, have been tested and found to have tranq mixed into them as well. As mentioned above, it boosts the effects of other drugs and, because it mimics the effects, users are none the wiser.
Until the dangerous side effect of ingesting the toxic chemicals that the drug contains surface anyway. It presents as horrific, open wounds—necrotic skin ulcers—on the skin that are difficult to treat. If nothing is done, the wounds grow larger as the flesh is eaten away with amputation being a last-ditch effort to stop the process.
To make matters worse, many addicts refuse to seek treatment for their wounds for fear of retaliation. Others have just given up hope and feel doomed to remain stuck in their nightmarish lives forever.
The feds haven’t made it illegal!
Xylazine isn’t on the DEA’s Controlled Substances list. Even so, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Dr. Rahul Gupta came out with an official stance in April. He stated, “By declaring xylazine combined with fentanyl as an emerging threat, we are being proactive in our approach to save lives and creating new tools for public health and public safety officials and communities across the Nation. To parents, loved ones, community leaders, and those affected by xylazine use: I want you to know that help is on the way.”
So far, cities in crisis are still waiting to see it. It’s important to note that since tranq isn’t a federally controlled substance, it’s not actually illegal to use by itself. It can currently be obtained with a veterinarian’s prescription. But it should be awfully hard to persuade one to write it without a needy animal in tow.
Some states are beginning to take action though. New York, for example, passed a bill back in 2017 making xylazine a controlled substance at the state level. It immediately became illegal to use or sell. We fully expect other states to follow suit.
Take to the streets
Thousands of people are dying… on our city streets… from drug overdoses every year. We can’t just keep our blinders on considering the number a statistic as we “tsk, tsk,” and move on. We need to find ways to get hands-on to help.
Doing so could stimulate two reactions.
- Shine an even brighter light on the crisis at hand.
- Release a sense of positivity into the environment, which can go a long way in causing the glimmer of hope to grow larger.
Both of those things are needed on city streets across our great nation. Perhaps, we could out there and volunteer a few hours of our time at a street clinic. Or maybe your family could write some letters of encouragement paired with a bag of necessities—and, please, not a needle-and-spoon kind of package, either. We believe it doesn’t do one bit of good to enable the addicts—to pass out among the homeless shelters in your community.
Considering actually walking straight into an apocalypse is an intimidating thought, but children who go to school in the area do it every day. We need to take a stand for them just as strongly as we do to help the homeless and addicted. Imagine what they see every single day. It should not be so.
Any bit of good we can do to make a difference in someone’s life who needs a hand up and out of the cycle of addiction can be a catalyst. Feeling as if someone cares about you as a human being means more than any of us may ever realize.
But to the person wandering, as if they are perpetually lost, through the streets day in and day out, the small glimmer of hope such kindness could spark within them may give them the strength to fight the “zombie apocalypse.” Fight with all that they have.
And they will win.