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In medical terminology, they are known as necrotic lesions. In layman’s terms, they are patches of dying and decaying flesh on living tissue. Dr. Sydnee Smirl McElory has seen enough of them during her patient visits at Harmony House to know the Tri-State has a new battle in the fight against illegal drug use.

In this case, it’s the drug xylazine — a sedative used by veterinarians on large animals such as horses. In the past few years, it has been added to heroin to boost its high. The same is true with fentanyl, which has received a great deal of public attention the past few years. Xylazine has been in the mix, too, but lesser known. Now its presence cannot be overlooked.

Jim Ross is development and opinion editor of The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington. His email address is jross@hdmediallc.com.

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