NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A couple weeks after the Biden administration declared the animal tranquillizer, Xylazine, an “emerging threat” on the country, a regional rehab facility became one of the first centers to test for the drug on-site, while a Nashville lab has noticed an uptick in testing demand.

Xylazine, commonly referred to as “tranq,” is only approved for use in animals, however, it’s often mixed with fentanyl and ingested by humans to make a high last longer.

The drug is not an opioid, so it does not respond to the overdose-reversing drug, Naloxone, which makes tranq especially deadly.

The Nashville-based lab, Aegis Sciences Corporation, has tested for xylazine for two years. Clinical pharmacist, Andrew Holt, told News 2 not only has the number of positive samples increased, but also the demand for xylazine testing.

In the past three months, 10% of the lab’s samples from Tennessee that were positive for fentanyl also tested positive for xylazine. However, Holt said the drug is likely much more prevalent, because xylazine has a shorter period of detection than fentanyl and not every provider orders xylazine tests.

“Providers should be interested in ordering this test if they have these individuals who are at risk of being exposed to xylazine because you have the chance to preemptively address a really dangerous situation,” he said.

Changes Rehabilitation in Fulton, Kentucky, recently obtained new, xylazine test strips to test every new client on-site after a patient overdosed on xylazine before entering the facility.

“We’ve discussed what he felt like and how scary (it was), and he said this was different than before, and it really did scare him,” said Shirley Jankowski, Changes Rehabilitation’s program director.

Jankowski told News 2 testing for xylazine is especially important because the drug is naloxone-resistant.

“If they just get that high before they come in the door, and they end up with a deadly dose and they OD, I want to make sure we catch that,” Jankowski said.

Time is of the essence. According to Jankowski, the testing window for the xylazine strips is 25 to 50 minutes after it is ingested.

“If they just hit it in the parking lot, we’re going to be ready with lifesaving services right here in the front of our building.”