Emerging Drug Trends and their Impact on Rural Communities: A Focus on Fentanyl and Xylazine

This webinar will provide an overview of the fentanyl crisis impacting non-metropolitan rural communities, and the emerging issue of xylazine. While xylazine is not believed to be widespread in rural communities, providers working in rural settings need to be prepared for this emerging issue and how it complicates the response to opioid overdose. The session will begin with a description of fentanyl use with an emphasis on the prevalence in rural settings. A description of xylazine, including its mechanism of action and the acute and chronic physical health problems caused by the use of xylazine in combination with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids will be reviewed. The presentation will then shift focus to a discussion on how to implement effective harm reduction approaches for fentanyl and xylazine, and strategies for overcoming barriers to accessing treatment and harm reduction services in rural areas. Time will be made available for group discussion and Q&A.


  1. Name three (3) health effects of xylazine in humans.
  2. Distinguish two (2) major types of harm caused by xylazine use, in both short- and long-term contexts.
  3. Explain three (3) fentanyl overdose prevention tools or strategies.