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TRANQ Research Act will ‘develop our understanding of synthetic opioids’

Rebecca Barnabi

The Testing, Rapid Analysis, and Narcotic Quality Research Act of 2023 (TRANQ Research Act) passed the U.S. House on Monday.

Cosponsored by Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan of Virginia, the legislation was amended by the U.S. Senate and introduced by Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Collins of Georgia and Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo of Colorado to address the nation’s fentanyl epidemic.

In early 2023, McClellan was an original cosponsor of H.R. 1734 when it passed unanimously in the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

The bill is now on President Joe Biden’s desk and awaits his signature to make it American law.

The TRANQ Research Act directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to deepen its partnerships and strategically focus on the science needed to detect, identify and better understand synthetic opioids. The usage of one particularly dangerous fentanyl analogue known as “tranq” is skyrocketing across the country and contributing to an ever-growing number of drug overdoses. Also known as the “Zombie Drug,” tranq contains xylazine — a veterinary tranquilizer — and has gruesome side effects, causing large wounds that won’t heal and is resistant to standard opioid overdose treatments.

“With the growing concern surrounding fentanyl usage and a staggering rise in drug overdoses, it is crucial we continue to rally bipartisan support to address these issues. This epidemic cannot continue to be ignored,” McClellan said. “The TRANQ Research Act helps develop our understanding of synthetic opioids and other harmful drugs by raising awareness of this ongoing issue and instructing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to strengthen its research initiatives and partnerships. Addiction does not discriminate, so we must continue to provide support and resources for those who are struggling.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.