PDAA commends state lawmakers for listing xylazine as a controlled substance

May 16, 2024

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) today commended state lawmakers and Governor Josh Shapiro for officially listing xylazine, a powerful animal sedative known as “tranq,” as a Schedule III Drug under the Controlled Substance Act.

“The devastating effects on humans who use this animal tranquilizer is well known,” said PDAA Executive Director Kelly Callihan. “PDAA applauds the Governor and General Assembly for realizing the dangers and permanently classifying xylazine as an illegal substance.”

Governor Shapiro on May 15 signed House Bill 1661 into law.

Callihan said the new law will allow police and prosecutors to investigate and hold drug traffickers accountable for the dangerous drug impacting Pennsylvania communities. While making “tranq” illegal, Callihan said, the new law will continue to allow veterinarians access to the tranquilizer for the legitimate treatment of animals.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) 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.

In March 2023, PDAA sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Health requesting the animal tranquilizer be scheduled as a controlled substance. Pennsylvania prosecutors then worked with state lawmakers to permanently classify xylazine as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act.

“There is no legitimate reason for humans to use xylazine,” Callihan said. “Every day, prosecutors and law enforcement see the devastating effects of this drug. Now they have the tools needed to go after drug traffickers who bring this dangerous drug into our communities.”

PDAA also commended the prime sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar (R-Somerset), for leading the effort to pass the legislation with bipartisan support.

Individuals seeking treatment or substance use support for themselves or a loved one can call the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-4357. The free, confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and staffed by trained professionals. For more information, visit the PA Get Help Now website.


CONTACT: Kelly Callihan, PDAA Executive Director, 717-238-5416