CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK)– People are reporting the use of a powerful drug in Cabell County. It is called xylazine, also known as “tranq” or “zombie drug.”

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, this deadly drug is a sedative for veterinary use and can cause humans to experience unconsciousness, hallucinations, and flesh-eating wounds that can lead to skin rotting and even amputation.

According to Jan Rader, the director of the Mayor’s Council on Public Health and Drug Control Policy in Huntington, from mid-July to the end of October 2022, there were four toxicology reports that tested positive for xylazine in the region.

Jan Rader also says that naloxone, or Narcan, does not work if the overdose occurs from xylazine.

Recovery advocate Kenny Matthews says he is afraid that this highly-addictive drug will increase overdoses in West Virginia.

“People that have a substance abuse disorder need their own support and support services to prevent them from dying,” Matthews says. “This drug ‘tranq’ is incredibly dangerous. There is no guarantee that you can use again after using it even just the first time”.

The DEA warns that xylazine has been detected in mixtures containing cocaine, heroin and a variety of other drugs. They say that it can be used in a powder form or intravenously in liquid form.

“We need to stay away from it,” Matthews says. “If you are on a substance abuse disorder, if someone tells you got this, stay away from it. You never know if that last time will be your last time.”