WASHINGTON — Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s seeing momentum grow for passage of his bill that would put new restrictions on a drug called xylazine.

It’s also known as the “zombie drug,” as it’s used by veterinarians and farmers as a tranquilizer for large animals.

“The drug is not intended for human use, but you know what happens with drugs today. Some people are now mixing that substance with fentanyl,” Grassley says. “This is a deadly combo that’s taken a lot of American lives.”

The Combating Illicit Xylazine Act is bipartisan, as Grassley teamed up to introduce it with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat from Nevada.

“Our bill classifies the tranquilizer as a Schedule 3 substance and secondly, enables the Drug Enforcement Agency to monitor its manufacturing,” Grassley says. “Importantly, veterinarians and farmers would still be able to use the tranquilizer for their animals.”

Since the bill was introduced almost a year ago, Grassley says 23 co-sponsors have signed on in the Senate, along with 88 co-sponsors in the House.

“The prospects of our legislation becoming law are stronger than ever,” Grassley says. “Too many communities have felt the devastating effect of the nation’s drug epidemic. Inaction is not an option.”

A 2022 report from the DEA found 23% of fentanyl powder contained xylazine. It causes depressed breathing and heart rate, unconsciousness, necrosis, and death, while naloxone does -not- reverse its effects because it is not an opioid.