Molecular model of xylazine.

Can you become addicted to xylazine after using it for the first time?

No, you cannot become addicted to xylazine or any drug after using it only one time.

Physiological dependence is different from substance use disorder.

People can develop a physiological dependence upon xylazine if they use it repeatedly for several days or weeks in a row. Physiological dependence means that someone has developed an increased tolerance for a drug. They need to use more to get a desired effect. It also means they may experience physical withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop using a drug. Unfortunately, there is no FDA approved treatment for xylazine dependence and there are no established protocols for managing xylazine withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction and substance use disorder.

A person only meets the criteria for a substance use disorder if they continue to use a drug repeatedly despite experiencing numerous harms and negative consequences.

We need a health approach to xylazine.

Due to drug prohibition, xylazine is increasingly part of our drug supply. Learn more about how drug decriminalization and investing in health, overdose prevention centers, and safer supply can keep people safer.

Reviewed and updated by Jules Netherland, PhD, and Dr. Sheila P. Vakharia on 05/20/2023.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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