DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo put a bill through the U.S. House of Representatives to confront what some call a public health crisis.
It’s Caraveo’s first bill ever passed by the House. If it passes the Senate and is signed into law, it would fund research to learn more about xylazine, a dangerous drug also called “tranq.”
“We’re giving the National Institute of Science and Technology the ability to create testing and safe way to handle this for law enforcement,” Caraveo said.
“The danger is that it’s a synthetic opioid,” Caraveo said, “so Narcan, which works against fentanyl and other substances, does not work against this.”
The goal is to learn more about this drug and how to detect it in victims.
“To make sure that people know what they’re ingesting,” Caraveo said, “people know what they’re coming in contact with if they’re law enforcement officers.”
First responders would have another tool to manage the drug on the streets, currently responsible for a growing number of deaths over the last two years — two of them in Colorado.
“There is no way to test for this substance,” Caraveo said. “Law enforcement doesn’t know if it’s in the things that they’re picking up as they’re encountering people on the street.”
Caraveo said the bill passed the House with bipartisan support.
“On the Science and Space and Technology committee we are really committed to working across the aisle,” Caraveo said.
There is another Colorado-connected effort to stop the spread of this drug, which is actually a horse tranquilizer.
Colorado Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck is working on a bill that would classify xylazine as a Schedule III drug.