Kensington’s Zombie Drug Crisis Unveiled

By Josh Kovin
Published Monday, Jun 03, 2024
kensington zombies

In the gritty streets of Kensington, Philadelphia, a new peril has emerged within the drug scene, known colloquially as the “zombie drug.” Xylazine, originally a veterinary tranquilizer, is increasingly found mixed with opioids like fentanyl, bringing alarming health consequences and complicating the fight against drug addiction.

The Hazards of Xylazine

Xylazine, when combined with opioids, exacerbates the risk of severe overdose and complicates treatment efforts. Unlike typical opioids, xylazine affects the central nervous system in ways that are not counteracted by common overdose-reversal medications like naloxone. This drug has been known to cause significant sedation, dangerously slowing down breathing, heart rate, and lowering blood pressure. These effects are magnified when xylazine is mixed with other depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, making its use particularly lethal.

Recent studies reveal that xylazine can also lead to severe skin ulcers, often requiring intensive and specialized wound care, a challenge in non-hospital settings where many affected individuals might find themselves​ (BioMed Central)​​ (AAFP)​.

Epidemiological Insights and Community Challenges

Xylazine’s infiltration into the street drug market can be traced back to its low cost and the altering effects it has on the high provided by opioids. This has led to its use in dangerous cocktail drugs known as “speedballs” or “goofballs,” which mix stimulants and depressants for a potent effect. This trend complicates efforts by health professionals to treat and manage overdoses due to the unpredictable effects of these drug combinations​ (BioMed Central)​.

Strategies and Responses

Addressing the xylazine crisis requires a multifaceted approach. Public health officials advocate for the integration of xylazine into standard drug testing protocols and emphasize education for both drug users and healthcare providers about its dangers. Furthermore, enhancing community partnerships and employing harm reduction strategies are vital to manage and mitigate the impacts of this drug​ (MedXpress)​​ (Penn LDI)​.

Real Voices, Real Impact: Matt Bell’s Experience


We need to better prepare ourselves for the new trends and drugs that are killing people at an alarming rate. If you are struggling, I’d love to talk! You can reach me at 419-460-5833. #Speaking #HospiceOfNWO #Addiction #OpioidCrisis #Toledo #Kensington #Philly

♬ original sound – Matt Bell

During filming for Addiction After Dark, Matt Bell, founder and CEO of Team Recovery, witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of xylazine in Kensington. His reflections, captured in a poignant video, emphasize the dire need for urgent action and compassionate intervention.

The docu-series “Addiction After Dark” plays a crucial role in this effort, showcasing the nightly realities of those battling addiction and highlighting their unspoken dreams and struggles. Explore their impactful stories on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

Engage and Learn More

At Team Recovery, our mission is to improve the health and wellness of individuals affected by addiction or mental health disorders. We strive to be the leading provider of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health services in our community, focusing on reducing stigma, minimizing barriers to care, and implementing innovative behavioral health services. For more details on our mission and values, visit our About page.

We are deeply committed to addressing the complexities of addiction and offering comprehensive support to those in need. For more insights and support regarding addiction and substance use disorder treatments, we encourage you to visit our Addiction Recovery Resources page.