A deadly drug cocktail that originated in the US has already claimed its first victim in the UK – with the man's sister saying the “sale of this stuff has to be stopped before it can take hold”.
Karl Warburton died after taking class A drugs mixed with an animal tranquilliser, with unscrupulous drug dealers lacing heroin and other drugs with xylazine – a tranquilliser developed in the 1960s to help veterinarians working to treat large animals such as cows and horses.
The powerful combination – known on the street as 'Tranq' – has reduced whole areas of some US cities to ghost towns populated by “zombie” addicts with rotting skin.
READ MORE: 'Zombie' Tranq drug that causes gaping wounds being cut into other street substances
Doctors say the drug leaves its users with rotted flesh as it starts "eating away your flesh from the inside out," with some of the worst cases showing grim open wounds.
Sarah Laurel, founder of drugs charity Savage Sisters, said there has been a huge surge in the numbers of people using of xylazine over the last four years.
She told NPR: “…and we are now left with individuals that have open gaping ulcers, infections, some necrotic tissue, and that leads to amputation”.
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Karl Warburton’s older sister Diane told the Daily Mail: “This xylazine is a killer. It’s evil stuff.”
Karl, a father-of-two, had taken xylazine and was found dead at his home in Birmingham last May surrounded by drug paraphernalia.
“I’ve no idea how he got it or where he got it,” Dian said. “I don’t believe even Karl knew what was in the stuff he took before he died. He wouldn’t have known anything about xylazine.
“The drug dealers don’t care what they cut their heroin with, either, just as long as they can maximise their profits.”
Diana, 48, says she would hate to think of any other family going through the loss of a loved one in the ways that she had.
“The sale of this stuff has to be stopped before it can take hold,” she added.
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