A man shows his scars from using “tranq” (xylazine) in Kensington, Philadelphia, PA on 8/8/22 (Capital-Star photo by Daniella Heminghaus).
Happy weekend, all.
Beginning Saturday, June 3, xylazine, a sedative approved for veterinary use, will be temporarily listed a controlled substance in Pennsylvania, the Shapiro administration announced this week.
State officials said the move to temporarily add xylazine to the list of schedule III drugs under Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act, is necessary to help curtail illegal use of the drug, which has made its way into the commonwealth’s illicit drug supply.
“This action will protect veterinarians and other legitimate users and manufacturers of xylazine, which is an important medication for animal sedation, while also creating penalties for people who add illicit xylazine to the drug supply that is harming people in our communities,” Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen said. “Our focus remains on developing strategies that help connect people with substance use disorder to treatment and other resources.”
In a statement shared earlier this week, the Department of Health called xylazine “a growing issue” and said that people often are exposed to xylazine, knowingly or unknowingly, in combination with other drugs, such as fentanyl.
In 2017, xylazine contributed to 90 overdose deaths, but in 2021, it contributed to 575 overdose deaths across 30 counties – an increase of over 600% in just 5 years, according to the department.
Xylazine has also become increasingly prevalent in Philadelphia, where it was reported that 90% of street opioid samples tested contained the sedative.
According to the FDA, xylazine is not safe for use in humans, and may result in skin ulcers and abscesses that drain pus, have decaying tissue and bacterial infections.
While xylazine is not an opioid, state health officials said that an opioid-reversal medication like naloxone should still be administered in instances of an overdose because xylazine is most often mixed with fentanyl or another opioid.
As always, the top five stories from this week are below.
This year marks my twentieth as a member of the U.S. Army War College faculty and resident of the greater Carlisle community.
Each year we receive a new cohort of War College officer-students attending the resident education program. They come from diverse backgrounds and locations from across the nation.
In addition, we have about 80 International Fellows from more than 70 countries.
Pennsylvania has long been the economic engine that has powered our nation’s prosperity. However, we still see some of the effects of bygone practices from a lack of environmental and health regulations in communities across our commonwealth today.
The commonwealth, sadly, leads the nation in abandoned mine lands (AML). These are the lands, waters, and surrounding watersheds where extraction or processing of ores and minerals has occurred.
Pennsylvania accounts for one-third of the country’s AML problem areas in 43 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Concerningly, AMLs can pose serious threats to human health and the environment. But thanks to federal investment in environmental restoration, we now have a historic opportunity to address this problem and create a brighter future for impacted communities.
A new analysis finds mostly clear sailing for America’s rookie governors — including Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro. But a lot depends on which party controls their state’s General Assembly.
That’s the bottom line from veteran political analyst Lou Jacobson, writing for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, who took stock of the new class of state chief executives elected during the 2022 midterm cycle.
While “nine rookie governors’ approval ratings run along a spectrum from passable to great, none is in dire straits politically,” Jacobson observed.
Even with a Democratic majority in the state House and a governor who included legalized adult-use marijuana in his future budget projections, the commonwealth is no closer to creating a regulated recreational cannabis market.
Pennsylvania remains one of the only states in the region not to have established or be in the process of debating weed legalization. Neighboring states, including New York and New Jersey have fully established adult-use recreational markets. To the south, Delaware and Maryland’s state legislatures recently passed measures to begin regulating, licensing and taxing for cannabis sales.
A new curriculum, a pilot program for year-round education for 10 schools, recruiting and retaining teachers and student and staff safety are among the priorities in School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Tony Watlington Sr.’s five-year strategic plan.
Watlington will present his plan to the Board of Education, the school district’s governing body, on Thursday. The board will vote on the plan June 1. If the plan is implemented, it will launch in July.
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