Rise of Medetomidine Prompts Warning from Indiana Department of Health

Rise of Medetomidine Prompts Warning from Indiana | Healthcare 360 Magazine


The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) has issued an urgent warning to coroners and law enforcement agencies across the state about the increasing use of a dangerous drug, Medetomidine. This non-opioid sedative, typically used in veterinary medicine, is being illicitly consumed, raising significant public health concerns. According to a recent IDOH news release, there has been a noticeable surge in the recreational use of Medetomidine, which users often mix with potent substances such as fentanyl, xylazine, and heroin.

Medetomidine is gaining notoriety on the streets under the nickname “Zombie Drug,” a reference to its severe and often alarming side effects. Users of Medetomidine experience a range of symptoms, including profound sedation, pain relief, dry mouth, respiratory depression, hypnotic effects, dilated pupils, hypothermia, involuntary muscle twitching, slow heart rate, and initial hypertension. These dangerous side effects highlight the risk this zombie drug poses to individuals and the broader community.

Medetomidine’s Presence in Syringe Service Programs

The IDOH has also detected Medetomidine in samples collected from Syringe Service Program sites throughout Marion County, indicating its spread and accessibility. While Zombie Drug itself does not respond to Narcan or naloxone, commonly used opioid antagonists, the IDOH still advises administering Narcan in suspected overdose cases. This recommendation stems from the frequent combination of Medetomidine with opioids, where Narcan could potentially counteract the opioid components involved.

Residents of Hamilton County can access free Narcan at the Hamilton County Health Department, located at 18030A Foundation Drive in Noblesville. Though Hamilton County has not yet reported any overdose cases directly linked to Medetomidine, officials emphasize the importance of vigilance. Jeff Jellison, the Hamilton County Coroner, underscores the need for awareness given the zombie drug’s prevalence just south of the county border. “The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office has not yet seen medetomidine during our investigations of fatal overdoses,” Jellison stated. “Because of its widespread use just south of our county border, the community must remain on alert. Medetomidine is commonly mixed into pills and powders often purchased on the street or from internet black market pharmacies.”

Resources for Those Struggling with Addiction

In response to this growing threat, several resources are available for those struggling with zombie drug addiction. FOX59/CBS4 has compiled a comprehensive list of organizations and services that offer support and treatment. These resources include:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • DEA Recovery Resources
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Drug Resources
  • Indiana Addiction Treatment Services
  • National Rehab Hotline

These organizations provide a range of services from crisis intervention to long-term recovery support, aiming to assist individuals battling addiction and help mitigate the impacts of dangerous zombie drugs like Medetomidine.

As the threat of Medetomidine continues to rise, it is crucial for communities and individuals to stay informed and prepared. The IDOH’s proactive measures and the availability of addiction resources are vital steps in addressing this emerging public health crisis.

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