DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Xylazine is the latest drug putting public health officials on alert.

According to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, Xylazine was found in 15 suspected overdose deaths in January 2023. It is often used to cut Fentanyl, and it has been around since 2018; however, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is seeing an increase of it. Jennifer Watson is the Chemistry Technical Leader at the Coroner’s Office.

“It is used legitimately in the United States as a veterinary anesthetic, but there is no accepted medical use in humans for Xylazine in the United States. It is not a controlled substance,” Watson explained.

Watson said Xylazine produces similar effects to opioids, but it is not an opioid which means Narcan will not be effective.

“Narcan should still be effective as far as fentanyl. However, when you add a substance like Xylazine mixed in there, if the first responder or the family member is not aware that Xylazine is present, it could create complications, whether or not how effective Narcan would be,” Watson said.

This is a concern for advocates who encourage people to learn how to administer Narcan and potentially save lives. Tina Rezash Rogal is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications for the Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board.

“The Montgomery County ADAMHS Board does a significant amount of Narcan training, and we offer free Narcan kits to anybody who would like to receive that training and carry a kit with them. So, to have a substance that could be on our streets that individuals might be taking that is resistant to Narcan is definitely disturbing,” Rogal explained.

Because of this, ADAMHS is reminding people if they are going to use drugs, make sure there is someone nearby to call 911. Rogal also encouraged people to call the Crisis Now 24/7 hotline at 833-580-2255 to get help right away.

“If an individual calls the crisis call center, they will be immediately connected with a provider, meaning someone who is a therapist who could talk to them, a peer support specialist who can talk to them if they’re specifically struggling with a substance use disorder,” Rogal said.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is also seeing a reemergence of Valerylfentanyl. It is considered to be a designer opioid, and looks the same as fentanyl.