WPIX saw injured legs and swollen hands Tuesday as it drove to Philadelphia’s embattled Kensington neighborhood to witness first-hand the effects of the animal tranquilizer xylazine, which turns fentanyl addicts into “zombies.” Crowds of people, and even lost limbs, walked along the notorious Kensington High Street.
“The next thing you know, you wake up and it’s all over the place Big hole.” “They just show up somewhere. It’s not necessarily where you shot.”
Shawn Westfahl, the nonprofit’s overdose prevention coordinator, said it believes xylazine, known as “Tranq,” was mixed with heroin and fennec before animal tranquilizers appeared in Philadelphia. The idea in Tenny Supplies started in Puerto Rico.
Xylazine is now found in 90 percent of Philadelphia’s drug supply, and a federal law enforcement source told WPIX that it has also been found in drug caches in New York. “By adding horse tranquilizers, something more soothing, the feeling lasts longer,” notes Westfahl.
Art El Malik said he first tried fentanyl in Seattle before returning to his hometown of Philadelphia, where he noticed a few years ago that his drug was turning a different shade of white or pink. “We’ll wake up and we’ll be totally sick,” El Malik told WPIX. “We’re seeing people walking around and they look like animals and they’re on their ankles.” El Malik’s hand had swelled to about three times its normal size, and he Said doctors warned him the infection could lead to amputation.
“Yes, it’s possible,” El Malik said. “Many of my friends have lost limbs.” WPIX saw a young man in a wheelchair lose his left foot. Sean Anderson, 44, of Delaware, said his tibia was recently punctured in two places before it healed. “Delaware is very different from here,” Anderson said. “It’s a whole different world.”
Anderson said he was introduced to pills and heroin by his mother at an early age. He came to Philadelphia after his mother died from the coronavirus. He said a local drug dealer gave him a bag of drugs for free.
“When I was leaving, a guy gave me a sample, and it got me hooked,” Anderson said. “They had free drug samples. I had one and I’ve been stuck ever since.”