This webinar provides 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 presentation begins 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 are reviewed. The presentation shifts 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.
Content warning: This webinar recording and webinar slides contain graphic images depicting the effects of Xylazine on the human body.