Mixture of animal drug, heroin turning addicts into zombies

Drug paraphernalia. The misuse of xylazine was a "grave threat" in Mombasa’s Majengo, Old Town, and Kisauni areas. [iStockphoto]

A new report has revealed that most drug addicts at the Coast have turned into zombies after using a mix of heroin and xylazine, a veterinary sedative drug also known as Tranquiliser.

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) says that the use of xylazine has spread at the Coast at an alarming rate and has devastated many families.

Human Rights activists said yesterday that the misuse of xylazine was a "grave threat" in Mombasa’s Majengo, Old Town, and Kisauni areas with reports of the first death at Kazandani linked to the drug.

A video of youths that appear to be intoxicated and moving around like a “zombie” reportedly captured in the Kazandani area, near the Bamburi Mwisho matatu terminal went viral recently forcing NACADA to act.

In the video, the people are overhead saying that the addicts had decided to use veterinary seductive drugs following the drop in the supply of cocaine and heroin at the Coast.

Earlier, NACADA officials suspected that the addicts may have used fentanyl,” a synthetic opioid intended to help patients, such as those with cancer, manage severe pain.

On Friday, NACADA Chief Executive Prof John Muteti said after one month of research, it was established that the addicts were mixing xylazine with the little heroin in the market to make them feel high.

He said after an investigation the authority launched in Mombasa two weeks ago, they found out heroin was the most abused drug.

“From our preliminary investigations, we have discovered that zombie-like symptoms among drug users can be attributed to either one or combination factors, use of methadone with heroin, high dosage of prescription drug and other substances,” said Prof Muteti.

And Coast Regional Coordinator Rhoda Onyanya who accompanied NACADA officials at her boardroom in the Uhuru Na Kazi building warned drug barons in the region that the government will soon catch up with them.

She said drug and alcohol abuse in the region would not be tolerated and that was why her team had intensified the crackdown on both drug peddlers and users to stem the vice in the region.

“As we are speaking, several bhang traffickers have been arrested in Kilifi by a security team which has been doing a good job of fighting the vice,” said Onyancha.

He said the great concern in the government was the discovery that some of the drug users could be using animal tranquilisers as alternatives to heroin.

Prof Muteti said the use of high dosages of heroin, a combination of heroin and Diazepam and amitriptyline and other substances was the cause of zombie-like behaviour.

He however said that the earlier belief that fentanyl, a drug used for patients undergoing surgery was in use was not true.

“During the fact-finding mission, 20 samples of various drugs were collected in Kwale, Mombasa, and Kilifi and handed over to the Government Chemist for analysis and identification.

We can comfortably report that so far we do not have any reported Fentanyl cases in the country,”  said Prof Muteti.