- Berkshire District Attorney's Office
Media Contact for Berkshire District Attorney’s Office Issues Public Health Advisory About Xylazine in Local Drug Supply
Andrew McKeever, Director of Communications
BERKSHIRE COUNTY — The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office cautions the community about the presence of Xylazine in the drug supply.
Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) at Brandeis University noted a significant percentage of opioid samples testing positive for the presence of Xylazine, especially in Western Massachusetts. MADDS found the drug in both powder and counterfeit pain pills. The Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab finds Xylazine frequently used as a cutting agent.
In 2021, 12 out of 33 samples MADDS tested in Berkshire County contained Xylazine. As of June 2022, 10 out of 42 samples tested positive for Xylazine. Statewide MADDS reports that 28 percent of samples tested positive for Xylazine.
“I thank MADDS for testing and alerting our community to changes in the drug supply. I urge people who use drugs to be cautious with their intake and never use alone,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said.
“Sharing and raising awareness about what is in the local drug supply is a proven harm reduction measure to prevent tragedy.”
Implementing harm reduction strategies across the county and treating people with compassion is an evidence-based solution to the opioid and overdose epidemic.
The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office signed a Memorandum of Agreement with MADDS to allow them to operate in Berkshire County as part of a statewide effort to supply the community and first responders with data to prevent fatal overdoses.
The District Attorney asks that everyone learn the signs of overdose and act immediately - call 911, administer Naloxone, perform rescue breathing, and stay with the person until help arrives. While Narcan will not reverse the effects of Xylazine, Narcan will reverse the effects of the opioid present, so always administer Narcan.
The Good Samaritan Law protects those who report an overdose from arrest and prosecution for drug possession.
Xylazine can cause over-sedation, decreased consciousness, low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, and reduced breathing. In combination with opioids, Xylazine increases the risk for overdose, and over-sedation for long periods of time can cause damage to muscles, nerves, and kidneys.
The Massachusetts Drug Supply DATA Stream website provides health bulletins and alerts to assist in identifying changes to the drug supply. Berkshire Harm Reduction provides safer use supplies, advice, medical care, and more. For additional resources in Berkshire County, please see the Berkshire Overdose Addiction Prevention Collaborative website.
Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington’s office serves all 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County. The office represents the Commonwealth in more than 7,500 criminal cases per year in Berkshire Superior Court, three district courts, three juvenile courts, Massachusetts Appeals Court, and Supreme Judicial Court. The office works closely with the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force, and collaborates with local police departments across the county. A dedicated staff of more than 50 prioritizes public safety, empowering victims and witnesses through services and support, and building a safe community for everyone and especially the most vulnerable.