Police: Xylazine in fentanyl makes it deadlier, renders Narcan powerless

The opioid crisis is escalating across Metro Detroit and just one dose of Narcan administered by first responders to save an overdose victim, is no longer enough.

"We saw that single-dose administration of Narcan being effective," said Farmington Hills Police Chief Jeff King. "Now we’re seeing it not be effective. It’s requiring that second and third and ultimately maybe four or five doses. Whatever we have, to combat that."

King is just one of many law enforcement officials across Oakland County working to get more resources for his officers to save more lives.

But now that fentanyl is being mixed with the animal tranquilizer xylazine, making the fentanyl more deadly, there’s an even bigger problem.

"As bad as fentanyl is, xylazine is another level and there’s nothing to counteract that," King said. "Our officers do not have the medical grade counteracting agents for xylazine that we have with Narcan, fentanyl and the opioids."

Law enforcement is hopeful the medical community can come up with an answer as soon as possible.

Drug enforcement teams throughout the area say they are finding fentanyl in cocaine, marijuana, and in pressed pill form.

The mixture into weed is how Mary DiPaolo’s brother Gordon died in March of 2020. Mary shared with FOX 2 a picture of him at age 50, seven years before he died.

"When I went into his room. I was just shocked at the condition there," said Mary DiPaolo. "It was clear that he was actively using. The paraphernalia was on the dresser. It was just a terrible situation to walk into."

She works as a limited licensed psychologist, helping people battling addiction get the help they need. It is especially the case now, in a time when the need has hit crisis levels.

"There are excellent addictionologists," said Mary. "Doctors who specialize in addiction medicine who are local to our area. If you don’t want to go to rehab, you don’t want to go to Brighton Hospital, you don’t want to go to St. Mary’s.

"You can actually get help by going outpatient to an addictionologist, get all the medication you need to help you through your withdrawal symptoms."

But to get clean, she says you have to really want it.

"You give them the hand up, they need to do the work in order to live their life on the sober path and it is possible," she said. "I’ve seen the miracles happen."