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Combat illegal xylazine while protecting veterinary access

April 7, 2023

The AVMA is urging Congress to pass the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act, which would provide harsher penalties for trafficking illicit xylazine while maintaining current veterinary access to this important animal sedative. 

Xylazine is an FDA-approved animal sedative critical to facilitating the safe handling and treatment of many animal species, including cattle, horses, cats, dogs, deer, elk, rats, mice, wildlife, and zoo animals. Recently, illicit xylazine is increasingly showing up in street drugs as traffickers have begun mixing xylazine with fentanyl and other narcotics. 

Now lawmakers in Congress are considering options to engage the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and impose stricter punishments for those trafficking unlawful xylazine. The AVMA has been advocating on behalf of the profession to support public health while ensuring veterinarians and their clients continue to have access to xylazine. 

Legitimate veterinary xylazine use in treating non-human species would remain under its current prescription status. Any diversion of xylazine from the veterinary supply chain for illicit use would be subject to harsher penalties as well. 

 Xylazine is an effective animal sedative that is critical to facilitating the safe handling and treatment of many species. The passage of this bill would help support public health efforts to curtail illicit xylazine while maintaining veterinary access to this critically important prescription animal drug.

Learn more about the AVMA-endorsed xylazine legislation and take action here.