Regional summit to explore critical interventions for emerging threat of xylazine in the opioid crisis

The West Virginia Behavioral Health Workforce and Health Equity Training Center (also known as the training center), an initiative of the Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery, is hosting: “Xylazine, Overdose, and Underserved Communities: An ORN Regional Summit.” This summit, organized in collaboration with the Opioid Response Network (ORN), is set to take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, at the Marshall University Memorial Student Center in room BE5.

In response to the escalating concerns surrounding the use of xylazine, a tranquilizer increasingly linked to overdose-related deaths across the United States, the ORN approached Dr. Kari Mika-Lude, director of the training center, with the opportunity to provide an in-person summit specifically focusing on this emerging threat.

While xylazine has been in use for nearly a decade, there has been an alarming increase of fentanyl mixed with xylazine. Notably, the largest increases have been observed in southern states, as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In April 2023, the White House’s Office on National Drug Control Policy officially designated xylazine as an emerging threat within the ongoing opioid crisis.

The summit aims to bring communities together to discuss and strategize interventions in outreach, harm reduction, symptom treatment, overdose prevention and withdrawal management. This focus is particularly crucial for high-risk and under-resourced communities that are disproportionately affected by this new challenge.

Sessions at the summit will include:

Wound Care
Outreach to Persons Unstably Housed
Test Strips
Collegiate Recovery
BIPOC and LGBTQ Communities
How to Work Together

The event is free for all attendees. In-person attendance is especially encouraged for those providing direct care to persons who may be using or at risk of using xylazine, such as those in health care, EMS, QRT and addiction/prevention professions. To register visit

Livestreaming will also be available for anyone else who is interested in learning more. To register for the livestream, visit

For questions, e-mail