SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he will sponsor a bill to increase penalties for trafficking the deadly, flesh-eating animal tranquilizer, xylazine, more commonly known as "tranq."
Although Newsom rarely sponsors bills, he said that this action was necessary in combating the increasing overdose deaths across the state caused by the drug.
"Tranq poses a unique and devastating challenge in our fight against the overdose epidemic," said Newsom in a statement. "Although California is not yet seeing tranq at the same rates as other parts of the country, this legislation will help the state stay ahead and curb dealers and traffickers, while we work to provide treatment and resources for those struggling with addiction and substance abuse."
Xylazine is not approved for human consumption, according to the FDA. It can cause dangerously low blood pressure, a decrease in breathing rate and heart rate, and damage to tissue that can lead to skin wounds, large sores and ulcers when consumed by people, authorities say.
- Flesh-eating ‘zombie drug’ known as 'Tranq' detected in LA County's illegal drug supply
- 'Tranq' mixture, known as 'Zombie drug,' becoming more pervasive in SoCal
Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says xylazine is increasingly being mixed with fentanyl, making it even more dangerous.
While the governor has signed several fentanyl-related bills into law this year, some measures advocating for stricter penalties on drug dealing were struck down. These bills are often opposed by civil liberties groups, who are concerned about legislation targeting low-level drug dealers and users.
Newsom's proposal did not provide details on how exactly drug trafficking would be targeted.