May. 23, 2024

Prohibiting Xylazine Will Help Fight Ongoing Drug Epidemic

It is often said that business works at a much faster speed than government. The same can be said for the subject of criminal acts and the use of illegal drugs.

Therefore, I was happy to support legislation recently signed into law that permanently classifies xylazine, a powerful animal tranquilizer commonly known as tranq, as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Doing so helps ensure law enforcement has the tools it needs to keep another dangerous drug off the streets.

Xylazine is a non-opiate sedative and muscle relaxant only authorized in the United States for veterinary use, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is not currently a controlled substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. 

First noted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a substance mixed with other illicit drugs in Puerto Rico in the early 2000s, xylazine was later documented on the island as a drug of abuse on its own, which has continued to occur.

When xylazine is mixed with other opioids, particularly fentanyl, the work of first responders in overdose responses becomes much more complicated because xylazine can increase the possibility of respiratory depression. And because xylazine is a non-opioid, its dangerous impacts are not reversed by naloxone.

According to a 2022 DEA report, the presence of xylazine in forensic laboratories spiked between 2020 and 2021 through the United States. In the Northeast region alone, xylazine detections increased by 61%. The agency has seized mixtures of xylazine and fentanyl in 48 states.

In Pennsylvania, noted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, xylazine was present in 760 overdose deaths in 2022, a 32% increase over 2021 when it was involved in 575 fatal overdoses.

As a Schedule III drug, xylazine is added to a list of items that are only available with a prescription. Other Schedule III drugs include Vicodin, ketamine and anabolic steroids. Illegal possession of such substances is a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Because the drug is an important component in animal care, while reviewing the bill, I was particularly mindful to make certain that xylazine remained available for veterinary uses, specifically in the agriculture field.

The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro earlier this month and is now Act 17 of 2024.  

Here are some additional news topics and reminders I would like to share.

Save with PA 529 in May for a Chance to Win $5,529! - The Pennsylvania Treasury Department is celebrating 529 Day (May 29) throughout the month of May! Families that save with the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) have the opportunity to win some of more than $30,000 in total awards.

Families that open a new PA 529 GSP account and make at least $10 in contributions between May 1 and May 31, 2024, will be eligible to win one of two statewide awards of $5,529 – enough to pay for a year’s tuition at a Pennsylvania community college – or one of six regional awards of $2,529.

Families already saving with a PA 529 GSP account are also eligible to win a top award of $5,529 if their account had a balance of $10 or more as of April 30, 2024, and they make an additional contribution of at least $10 during the month of May.

With the tax-advantaged PA 529 GSP, families can save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs, meaning paying for a credit at today’s prices will result in enough to pay for a credit in the future, no matter how much tuition increases. PA 529 GSP accounts can be used to help pay for education costs at a wide variety of technical schools, colleges and universities, and apprenticeship programs.

Save with the PA 529 GSP in the month of May for a chance to win! For official rules and more about how to start saving, visit

Mental Health Awareness Month - May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and continuing the fight against the stigma people face when seeking help. 

In Pennsylvania, mental health services are administered through county Mental Health and Developmental Services programs. To learn more about mental health care in Pennsylvania, visit 

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.


Representative Jill Cooper
55th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jordan Frei
724-875-8450 /