Reports Of “Zombie Drug” From Florida Attorney General’s Office
In early April 2023, Florida’s Attorney General sent an official request to federal authorities to add a drug called Xylazine to the list of controlled substances. Xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer, has been getting more popular among substance users since 2021, and has been linked to more and more overdoses by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab. As of this writing, Xylazine has not been added to the federal list of controlled substances, but it has been outlawed in Florida since 2016. If you are caught with Xylazine in your possession, you will face serious drug charges.
Causes ‘Scary’ Skin Abscesses
While any ‘new’ or ‘popular’ drug is cause for concern, the rise of Xylazine as a recreational drug has proven particularly difficult for law enforcement and medical personnel to navigate, simply because it is not an opioid – Narcan, which is the most common drug given to overdose victims, has no effect on Xylazine. (it does, however, have an effect on fentanyl, which is commonly mixed with it.) Xylazine overdose leads to skin abscesses and ulcers which may require amputation if severe enough.
While the drug has existed since the 1970s, it has only become a threat in Florida in the last three or so years. In 2021, Xylazine was detected in as many as 3,000 fatalities throughout the south, and that figure is expected to rise. Because it is so commonly mixed with other drugs like fentanyl, it can be difficult to detect – but if you are caught with any amount of Xylazine in Florida, you will face the state’s notoriously strict drug laws.
Potential Penalties Are High
Xylazine is classified as a Schedule I drug in Florida, meaning that it is considered to have a high potential for abuse without any accepted medical use (for humans). Possession of most Schedule I drugs in Florida is charged as a felony, with possession of over 10 grams usually being charged as a first-degree felony. Depending on the amount a person is found with, the maximum sentence on such a charge can be anywhere from 5 to 30 years behind bars.
If you are charged with possession with intent to sell, the potential sentence can be similar – in many cases, worse, given that Florida treats drug offenses as crimes against society. Keep in mind that when charging a person, in order to determine how much of a substance that person was caught with, law enforcement will take the weight of a mixture, rather than trying to isolate the substances – so, for example, if you have 10 grams worth of Xylazine mixed with the same amount of fentanyl, you will be charged with possession of 20 grams total – which can push a third-degree felony into a second-degree felony, and so on.
Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Possession Attorney
While it remains to be seen whether U.S. federal authorities will add Xylazine to the list of Schedule I substances, you should be aware that Florida authorities prosecute crimes involving Xylazine extremely aggressively. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help you navigate the legal process. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.