February 15, 2023

USA: Addiction Services Warn Horrific New Fentanyl Mix ‘Tranq’ Has Arrived In Seattle. Tranq Turns Users Into Real-Life Zombies, Right Down To Loss Of Basic Mental Function And The Rotten Flesh. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Fox13 Seattle News Feb 13, 2023: Zombie drug: Police, addiction services warn horrific new fentanyl mix ‘tranq’ has arrived in Seattle. Tranq users get turned into real-life zombies, right down to loss of basic mental function and the rotten flesh.

Fox13 News, Seattle local
written by David Rose , Katie McDowell, Kelly Hatmaker and The Spotlight Staff
Sunday February 12, 2023

SEATTLE - If you ever wondered what could make fentanyl any worse, here’s your answer: Tranq – now one of the fastest-spreading drugs in America – FOX 13’s The Spotlight has confirmed it’s already turned up in fatal overdoses around the Seattle area.

Tranq users get turned into real-life zombies, right down to loss of basic mental function and the rotting flesh. Some of the most chilling accounts of Tranq’s impact come from those most familiar with the drug: front line mental health professionals, addiction services, and the users themselves.

Rochelle Long is a mental health professional embedded with the Marysville Police Department. In January, she put colleagues and clinics on notice to brace themselves for the full-on arrival of Tranq, warning that it hooks users with a new and powerful kind of high. "They start out dancing and they seem happy and they're just having fun and then immediately zombie like trance, like staring through you as if like a horror film," Long says.

What it can do to the human body is equally hard to believe. Wounds caused by Xylazine kill the skin and underlying tissue, turning the area black and hard. If untreated, it can lead to amputation.

Long saw it happen to a user first-hand. "He didn't have a flesh eating disorder, he didn't have an abscess, and he doesn't know how his finger went missing," Long recalled. "He said it was just miraculously gone."

Tranq’s base ingredient is Xylazine, a tranquilizer for large animals, obtained either illicitly through local vet suppliers or from overseas sources like China in powder form to bulk up fentanyl; Tranq, also known in some circles as ‘fetti powder’ and ‘Tranq Dope,’ is what you get when you mix xylazine with fentanyl.

The latest data from the Drug Enforcement Administration shows tranq is spreading almost as fast as fentanyl did, and following much of the same path, "beginning with white powder heroin markets in the Northeast, before spreading to the South, and then working its way into drug markets westward."

In the West region, the DEA reports forensic lab identifications of xylazine were up 112% percent in 2021 – the latest year for which numbers are available. The report also says "xylazine-positive fatal overdoses … experienced a significant jump from 2020 to 2021" – up 1,127% in the South region, up 750% in the West.

The Spotlight has learned there have been at least 12 xylazine-positive overdoses around the Puget Sound region, 9 in King County, three in Snohomish County, though agencies we spoke with say they have not tested widely for xylazine in autopsies.

Tranq has already ravaged multiple cities on the East Coast. Sarah Laurel is the founder of the 'Savage Sisters' outreach program in Philadelphia. In an interview with The Spotlight, she said Tranq is everywhere now: "It took us about two years for it to dominate and take over our supply, whereas in Boston for instance, it was almost non-existent in July and August, it is now in 70% of their supply."

Sarah says she and her team are treating Tranq addicts every day, doing their best with bandages, compassion, and Narcan. But Narcan’s effectiveness is limited: because Tranq is a sedative and not an opioid, it resists most opioid overdose remedies. "It's pretty terrifying, largely because we don't know much about it and we don't have a reversal drug," Laurel says. "We have to begin testing why it is causing these wounds within humans."

Washington like most states is not widely testing for xylazine. Because of that, fentanyl users are at risk of getting hooked on Tranq without even knowing they're taking it. The lack of awareness is what scares Mike Kersey of Courage to Change, an addiction recovery service in Everett, who says Tranq use there is on the rise. "I heard about it from a couple of addicts," Kersey explained. "One of them I got into detox said they had been using fetti powder and it was so much stronger."

For now, it's a race against time with Kersey trying to reach users and get them help before Tranq gets to them first; people like Nick Mackey who just completed a 28-day treatment program.

The Spotlight caught up to Nick after he graduated and on his way to transitional housing, proud of his achievement but worried for those who haven’t taken the first step toward sobriety. Nick has never tried Tranq, but he knows enough about fentanyl to understand that anything that makes it more powerful, will make it more deadly. "Fentanyl has taken a lot of people of people, you mix it with that it’s going to be completely overpowering," Nick said. "I’m worried about it."
Fox13 Seattle News published February 20, 2022: The Spotlight: Our fentanyl crisis. Fiercely addictive fentanyl-laced pills are flooding our communities and tearing families apart—driving the spikes in crime, homelessness and death. We hear from the feds who are fighting to kill the cartel smuggling business and raise awareness about this health crisis.

Fox13 News, Seattle local
written by David Rose
February 22, 2022

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - Highly addictive fentanyl-laced pills called ‘Blues’ on the streets are everywhere now in the Pacific NW. The fake opiods smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican cartels are killing people, fueling crime and leaving families grieving over the loss of loved ones. Many of those addicted are living in unsheltered.

Elliott Bagwell with the Sea Mar Street Medicine Team along with staff from Multi-Care Chemical Dependence Specialists and Great Lakes Housing Case Managers visit the homeless encampments in Pierce County to treat a wide range of medical conditions.

He says they see fentanyl addiction on a daily basis but it’s just one of the problems they encounter.

"You’re dealing with a really transient population but I’ve definitely got to wear a lot of different hats. You’re talking about wound care, addition medicines, psychiatry, substance issues. You name it, all at once," said Bagwell who is a Nurse Practitioner.

He says the goal of their work is to reduce ER visits and bridge people back to brick and mortar clinics.

"I can’t necessarily fix homelessness but I can try to hold the fort medically and whether that’s an abscess or wound we are trying to treat or get some connected to services when they are ready, that’s important but by all means, the fentanyl issue has definitely been an issue," said Bagwell.

At one encampment situated between Fife and Puyallup, a woman named ‘DJ’ says she smokes the ‘blues’ for pain for her Lupus.

"They’re everywhere. Everywhere. It’s heroin and meth you can’t find anymore. I’ve seen lifelong heroin addicts walk away from the heroin and dive right into the blues," said DJ.

On the street, the pills are sold for as little as $2 when purchased in large quantities but she says the going rate is $10 for an individual pill. DJ says she can make one last for several days and they do scare her.

"I don’t want to be one of the statistics out here. I’m just done with it, done with it. I need to get into a doctor about my lupus."

Like all the people they treat, Bagwell says they will work to get ‘DJ’ in to see a doctor.

"We offer to make appointments either with my clinic or the company I work for, whatever’s closest, and try to break down those barriers about transportation and whatever else people need.

Another problem is that even when addicts agree to go into treatment, they often relapse within 45 days once released unless they have a permanent place to stay.
VICE published August 9, 2021: Cartels Are Making Millions on Fentanyl-Laced Medicine.

Medical tourism to Mexico from the US is huge, with an estimated three million inbound medical travellers in 2020 alone. Medication is cheaper in Mexico than the US, and you can buy most drugs without a prescription.

While most people are able to find the care they desperately need, some are also buying cheap unregulated medicine without knowing it’s fake. The ingredients can be completely unknown and in recent years, the DEA have seized counterfeit medication laced with the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Reporter Tania Rashid explores the murky underworld of black market medication in Mexico and Los Angeles.

KOMO News published February 3, 2023: 116-year-old Seattle business to close shop over encampment safety concerns. Thea Sand, the fifth-generation owner of Emmanuel's Rug and Upholstery Cleaners SODO, said she is closing her business and leaving Seattle due to the persistent health and safety issues from nearby encampments.
KOMO News published January 25, 2023: Homeless people are building a house in the median of I-5 on-ramp.

Drivers who enter I-5 at Seattle's Mercer Street on-ramp pass by a growing homeless encampment that is obscured behind trees and repurposed 'welcome to South Lake Union' banners.

Inside the camp, Kandice and Mark, who asked to be identified only by their first names, are busy building their home.

“99% of this house is stuff that came out of dumpsters," Mark told KOMO News. "We don’t have a house or a home right now and this is how we know to survive.”

Mark said it's taken him about a month to build the tiny house, which includes an A-frame roof, foundation, window, and door. Mark says the couple ended up here after their previous encampment on Dexter street was cleared out by the city.

“We found ourselves on the sidewalk with all our stuff just trying to guard it. We figured we'd build this structure here because it's better than just a tent," he said.

Plus, Man who shot 2 Puyallup officers during hours-long standoff arrested and 2 men shot near Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood Tuesday night.

No comments: