NEW YORK (PIX11) – The zombie drug “tranq” has extended its reach to western Pennsylvania, where a young mother was found dead in December from a lethal mix of xylazine and fentanyl along with other drugs.
“She was a really good person,” said Tory Poska, the grieving mother of Deanna Poska. “All she wanted to do was help people.”
Deanna Poska, a mother of two boys, had recently finished a stint in rehab for heroin addiction.
“She was clean for four months. She came home from rehab and felt good about life,” said Deanna’s father, David Poska.
But she relapsed in a house that coal miners once used. The xylazine levels in her body were high.
“Even larger than what we normally see in a lot of the toxicology reports that come back. It was definitely a strong contributing factor,” said Tim Carson, the Westmoreland County coroner.
Carson said half of the overdose deaths he’s seen this year have involved tranq.
“This year right now, we have 15 confirmed overdoses and eight of them, unfortunately, had xylazine in them,” he said.
Detective Justin Scalzo, of the Greensburg Police Department, said he’s also seen a different animal drug tainting the street drug supply: Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer.
“The people mixing this aren’t rocket scientists, right. These are street dealers [who] are mixing it. They are cutting their product to make it more powerful,” he told PIX11 News.
Chief Charles Irvin, of the Greensburg Police Department, said he sees the rise of tranq and other animal sedatives as a potential problem for the entire region.
“Generally, these things hit the area in waves,” he said.
Now, Deanna Poska’s face is featured on a billboard along with warnings about the most lethal drug around. Yet the people who made and delivered a fatal dose of xylazine and fentanyl to her were never held accountable.
“I hope they rot in h—,” mom Tory Poska said.
The drug first gained popularity among heroin users who started experimenting with the drug to extend their high.
PIX11’s Mary Murphy has extensively reported on the deadly rise of tranq in communities along the East Coast and beyond. Watch the video player above for PIX11 News’ special, “Tranq: The Zombie Effect.”