Q2 2023 AVMA House of Delegates Report

AVMA logo

By Debra Nickelson

AVMA endorses federal legislation to address illicit xylazine

A newly proposed law backed by the AVMA would help combat the emerging threat posed by illicit xylazine while protecting veterinary access to this important animal sedative. The Combating Illicit Xylazine Act was introduced into congress in March. The bill’s provisions would equip law enforcement with additional tools to stop xylazine trafficking while maintaining veterinarians’ ability to legitimately use xylazine. 

It strikes the right balance of protecting our communities while preserving veterinary access to this critically important animal drug. If it becomes law, the legislation will make the manufacture, distribution, dispensing or possession of illicit xylazine subject to Schedule III penalties under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Illicit use of xylazine includes any use, or intended use, in people and would address any diversion of xylazine from veterinary sources. At the same time, the legitimate veterinary uses would remain under their current prescription status.

Highlights of the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act

  • Manufacture, distribution, dispensing and possession of illicit xylazine would be subject to Schedule III penalties, engaging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and allowing for harsher punishments when xylazine is handled illegally.
  • The legitimate importation, manufacture, dispensing and administration of xylazine for non-human species would not be subject to the restrictions and requirements of scheduling. 
  • Any diversion of xylazine from the veterinary supply chain for illicit use would be subject to the penalties of a Schedule III drug. 
  • Manufacturers and distributors would report sales of veterinary xylazine to the DEA through a tracking system that would identify unusual activity or changes in ordering patterns. 
  • The DEA would submit a report to congress detailing the prevalence and impacts of illicit xylazine use in the United States. 

Leave a Comment