Flesh-eating zombie drug Xylazine that has devastated US takes first life in UK – but could be ‘tip of the iceberg’ | The Sun

A TERRIFYING flesh-eating zombie drug has taken its first life in the UK – but an expert warns this could be the "tip of the iceberg".

Karl Warburton, 43, was found dead at his home in Solihull after using a cocktail of drugs – including one that's ripping through America.

The father-of-two became the first known person to die in the UK after taking what is known as “tranq dope”.

Xylazine, which is known on the streets as tranq, has been dubbed a zombie drug due to the way it eats through flesh, leaving users with disgusting wounds.

The horror drug is known to have killed 107,000 people in the US in 2021.

Karl died in May last year after taking a fatal mix of fentanyl and heroin – which dealers are said to mix Xylazine into.

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But an expert fears the West Midlands' dad isn't the first in the UK to die after using it – nor will he be the last.

National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths group director Caroline Copeland told The Times: “Xylazine is not in the standard drug screens done and there could be many more going undetected.

"How big is the UK’s Xylazine problem? This could be the tiniest tip of a growing iceberg.”

In the US the drug is approved by the national Food and Drug Administration as an animal tranquilizer used by vets – but it is not safe for humans.

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Tranq users have found raw wounds erupting on their skin at the injection sites which have rotted the surrounding flesh and caused infection, sometimes leading to amputation.

The wounds turn into a crust of dead tissue called eschar, which if untreated will cause people to lose limbs.

Some former addicts have even spoken about seeing people continue to inject the drug into their stumps.

Karl's death certificate listed xylazine as contributing to, but not directly causing his passing.

His older brother Alan, 46, also shared his worries about tranq dope.

Alan said: “I think the police just see it as a drug overdose like they always do, and they do f*** all about it.

"It’s really serious, especially when you see what he was killed with. There’s more to it.” 

It was found that Karl was unlikely to have been a regular user of Xylazine because his body was found to be physically fit at the post-mortem examination.

The dad had a rough upbringing and turned to crime and drugs.

But the dad had been committed to keeping clean, and tidying up the home he was greatly proud of.

And that's why neighbour Teresa Hayes, 68, was shocked to hear he had died after taking heroin.

She said she knew he would smoke cannabis – but never expected he took anything else.

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Teresa said: “When I heard about heroin, I said, ‘No. not Karl.’

"I have never known him to have hard drugs at all. I still find it hard to believe that he took those drugs.”

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