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New drug called 'tranq' causes 8 overdoses over the past week in Clarendon County

Clarendon Behavioral Health Services reported several overdoses on Friday to warn the community.

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — On Friday afternoon, Clarendon County Behavioral Health Services shared this post on their social media explaining that eight people including two teens had overdosed on a blue pill containing a substance called Xylazine.

Xylazine is a veterinary tranquilizer that is not supposed to be used by humans. The substance has grown in popularity recently and has gained the nickname 'tranq' on the streets, and is often found to be mixed with heroin or fentanyl.

With a growing number of overdose deaths in our state, Michelle Nienhius with the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services says she is not surprised a new drug has made such an impact.

"We have seen that in South Carolina, unfortunately, our overdose death rates are continuing to rise," Nienhius said with a frown.

According to data from Just Plain Killers, an arm of nienhius's organization, from 2019 to 2020 in South Carolina, deaths rose from around 1,100 people to more than 1700. 

As the use of tranq, fentanyl, and opioids continues to grow, Clarendon County Sheriff Tim Baxley says, "We dedicate resources to fighting illegal drugs every day. One overdose death is too many".

None of the eight overdoses have been confirmed to be fatal but the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services all overdoses are preventable.

"Don't take anything from anyone, especially when it's not prescribed to you by a doctor and that you didn't receive from a pharmacy," Nienhius said. "Folks who do utilize substances should not use alone, always have someone with you and have Narcan available."

Narcan can now be purchased through local pharmacies.


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