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Connecticut seeing an increase in Xylazine overdose-related deaths

Xylazine is a drug used to tranquilize large animals like elephants or horses.

CONNECTICUT, USA — Health officials pointed out an alarming trend happening all across the country, including Connecticut. 

People have overdosed on Xylazine, a drug meant to tranquilize large animals. 

"If it can tranquilize an elephant, what would it do to an average size human?" said John Lally of Ellington

The drug can be used as an IV or taken orally and is meant to sedate large animals like horses or elephants, but recently, people mixed the drug with other opioids. 

"People report that sometimes they feel like they’re high is amplified or extended," said Hartford Healthcare Medical Director of Rushford J. Craig Allen.

Xylazine is usually mixed with fentanyl. Naloxone can reverse the effects of a fentanyl overdose, but with Xylazine in the mix, it is not always guaranteed. 

According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the number of Xylazine-related deaths has increased since 2019. 

Dr. Allen said long-term use of the drug can lead to more serious effects on the skin. 

"These sores can get infected. They can be life-threatening and these sores can lead to loss of limb and life," added Dr. Allen. 

Loss of life is something John Lally is familiar with after he lost his 29-year-old son, Tim Lally to an overdose in 2016. His 30th birthday was just five days away. 

"He had high honors in high school, he was very smart, he loved baseball," said Lally. 

Anxiety and depression then over Tim's life followed by an addiction to Percocet, a pill that put his mind at ease. 

"They’re not having fun. They’re doing drugs to just get through the day," added Lally. 

Tim's addiction later spiraled and it led to a phone call no one wanted to get. 

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"Doctors told us he went into cardiac arrest," added Lally. 

With the tough decision to take his son off the ventilator, he has since turned his grief into an overdose awareness initiative called Today I Matter. 

"Once you start to talk, you realize there’s a lot of people around you in the same boat, you’re not alone," added Lally. 

To learn more about Lally's organization or how you can help, click here. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and X.


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