Rising xylazine imports fuel illicit drug supply in BC's Interior: Health Canada | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rising xylazine imports fuel illicit drug supply in BC's Interior: Health Canada

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With xylazine being traced more and more in the illicit drug supply in BC's Interior and other regions, Health Canada ensures that xylazine, being a veterinary drug, is under federal regulations that make it illegal to traffic and import into the country.

"Xylazine is an authorized prescription veterinary drug subject to the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and its regulations. Xylazine is not controlled under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).  Xylazine is not approved for use in humans," Charlaine Sleiman, spokesperson for Health Canada, said in an emailed statement. "Any unauthorized import or sale of xylazine is in violation of the Food and Drugs Act."

While the drug is illegal to traffic and import, its presence in substances, especially opioids, continues to be traced at a slowly increasing rate. Health Canada said the drug has made its way into the illicit drug market through illegal importations rather than by diversion from veterinary clinics.

"We are not currently aware of any evidence that diversion of the veterinary Xylazine drug product is occurring. Rather, evidence to date indicates that xylazine is one of the many contaminants that is being illegally imported to Canada and making its way into the toxic illegal drug supply," Sleiman said in the written statement.

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"Diversion and trafficking of any drug is illegal. Xylazine used in authorized veterinary drugs is made from its liquid form, while seizures of illicit xylazine use the powder form. This makes it unlikely that the diversion of xylazine from authorized drugs is the major driver in its presence in the street supply."

Health Canada said efforts are being made to reduce the importation of xylazine into the country.

"Health Canada works in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency to prevent the illegal importation of products into Canada that pose a risk to the health and safety of the people of Canada," the statement read. "Health products deemed non-compliant with legislative and/or regulatory requirements are refused entry into Canada."

Because the diversion and trafficking of xylazine is illegal, Health Canada said anyone found diverting or trafficking it would face legal consequences, just as is the case for any illegal drug in the country.

Despite efforts, xylazine continues to make its way into the country and the illegal drug supply, so Health Canada encourages individuals who continue to use uncontrolled substances to use strategies to avoid severe health-related consequences.

For more information on xylazine, go here.

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