On an island where the economy is manipulated by drugs, and hundreds of thousands of residents have consumed or are currently consuming addictive substances, it might not come as a surprise that Puerto Rico has been described as “the new front door of the war on drugs”, or “the backdoor to America.”
The island's strategic localization, its multiple rich ports, in addition to its commonwealth political status and relationship to the United States, serve drug cartels from South America and the Caribbean, as the perfect trampoline to the mainland.
But the drug doesn’t just travel out of the island; it also stays inside affecting residents every year. Thousands of people wake up everyday to the reality of having to maintain an addiction, to some of the most dangerous substances.
One of the island’s most common drugs, mainly for being cheaper than others and producing a strong high effect, is Xylazine, better known as horse tranquilizer. This new medication, introduced in the early 2000 is primarily produced to be used by veterinarians as an anaesthetic for dental work or castration in horses.
In humans, the powerful substance causes the mind to fade in and out of conscience and the body to bend to the ground even while standing on its feet. The effects last for a little less than six hours, leaving the addict with the need to roam the streets in a search for the next fix, many resorting to theft and panhandling in and effort to stay awake, and alive.
On a recent episode of National Geographic Channel's "Drugs Inc." these Xylazine drug addicts were labeled as sleep walking zombies, living on a zombie island.
See the video above to learn more about this new drug and its effects and watch the entire episode here. (WE RECOMMEND DISCRETION. NSFW IMAGES)