PDAA applauds Department of Health for scheduling xylazine as a controlled substance

June 5, 2023

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) is commending the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) for taking formal action to limit access to xylazine by scheduling the dangerous drug as a controlled substance.

On Friday, Governor Josh Shapiro and Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen announced taking action to temporarily schedule xylazine as a controlled substance. Xylazine is a powerful sedative that is being combined with other drugs, such as fentanyl, and is contributing to overdose deaths across Pennsylvania.

“There is no legitimate human purpose for the use of xylazine, a powerful animal tranquilizer used by veterinarians,” said PDAA Executive Director Greg Rowe. “Scheduling xylazine will allow law enforcement and prosecutors to investigate and hold drug traffickers accountable for selling this dangerous drug in our communities.”

In March, PDAA sent a letter to the Department of Health warning that the drug is life-threatening to humans and asking it be scheduled as a controlled substance. PDAA noted that the Federal Drug Administration warned that, under no circumstances, should humans consume xylazine. In addition to overdoses, the drug can cause hours-long blackouts. It also can cause wounds to open easily and heal slowly. If the wounds are not treated properly, the result could be amputation.

“The effects of xylazine use by humans is devastating,” PDAA wrote in the letter.