A naloxone kit from the Chicago Recovery Alliance is pictured in a file photo. The organization is among those working to deal with an influx in xylazine. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

The veterinary drug was connected to a rising death toll in Cook County and across the state. The new restrictions aim to prevent the drug from entering the U.S. market for illicit purposes.

FILE - Attendees practice administering Narcan during an overdose education and Narcan training class at the Onala Recovery Center on the South Shore of Pittsburgh on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (Alexandra Wimley / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File)

The potential move represents the latest government effort to increase use of a medication that has been a key tool in the battle against the U.S. overdose epidemic. The decades-old drug can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.

Tawana Pope is featured in FIRSTHAND: Life After Prison. (WTTW)

Tawana Pope and Nicholas Crayton had their own unexpected journeys and challenges, but continue to push for a better life. Pope is the founder of the nonprofit Diamonds In The Making Outreach and previously had been in and out of jail, struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Crayton was released from prison just last year from the Life Skills Re-Entry Center.

A naloxone kit from the Chicago Recovery Alliance is pictured in a file photo. The organization is among those working to deal with an influx in xylazine. (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

Data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office shows 146 opioid-related deaths last year where xylazine was listed as a primary cause, marking a 16.8% increase from 2021. Local harm reduction organizations have also seen an uptick in its use.

(WTTW News)

A total of 35% of legal-aged U.S. adults skipped alcohol for the entirety of January in 2022 — that’s an increase from 21% in 2019, according to food and drink research firm CGA.

(WTTW News)

Omar Corro, senior director of operations at Rincon Family Services, said a major issue is family members not understanding what an individual in recovery might be going through, especially during the holidays.

(INeverCry / Wikimedia Commons)

Rates of deaths from drug overdoses among older adults have more than tripled in the past two decades, according to one report published Wednesday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. In 2020, more than 5,000 adults 65 and older in the United States died of a drug overdose.

(Shutterbug75 / Pixabay)

Last month, Ben’s Friends, a national support group for people in the hospitality industry struggling with addiction, began hosting weekly meetings in Chicago.

Brian Hackel, right, an overdose prevention specialist, helps Steven Baez, a client suffering addiction, find a vein to inject intravenous drugs at an overdose prevention center, at OnPoint NYC in New York, N.Y., Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. (AP Photo / Seth Wenig)

Supporters say the sites — also known as safe injection sites or supervised consumption spaces — are humane, realistic responses to the deadliest drug crisis in U.S. history. Critics see them as illegal and defeatist answers to the harm that drugs wreak on users and communities.

(Bruno / Germany via Pixabay)

Local advocates say so-called safe injection sites – safe havens for people to use drugs with protections against fatal overdoses – are crucial, especially with a rise in overdoses amid the pandemic.

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A Chicago-based addiction treatment center, which like others nationwide has faced fierce opposition to opening suburban branches, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to force one suburb to stop blocking its expansion plans.

A health care professional draws Naloxone into a syringe. (WTTW News via CNN)

The city is expanding a program that works to keep people from getting a drug offense and, instead, places them into treatment. Eleven police districts are currently eligible for the program, but officials say it will be available in all districts by the end of the year.

In this Sunday, May 10, 2020 file photo, Sharon Rivera adjusts flowers and other items left at the grave of her daughter, Victoria, at Calvary Cemetery in New York, on Mother’s Day. (AP Photo / Kathy Willens, File)

Overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government reported Wednesday. That estimate far eclipses the high of about 72,000 drug overdose deaths reached the previous year and amounts to a 29% increase.

(Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash)

Opioid-related overdoses in Cook County increased by more than 40% last year. While this spike began in December 2019 — before COVID-19 was widespread — the pandemic accelerated the trend. We discuss the state of the opioid epidemic in the Chicago area.

(WTTW News)

Breaking the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction is a challenge made even tougher once the criminal justice system gets involved. A new program is helping those recovering find refuge in their own homes.

The U.S. government is easing requirements that made it difficult for doctors to treat opioid addiction using the medication. New guidelines announced Tuesday, April 27, 2021, mean doctors will no longer need eight hours of training to prescribe buprenorphine. (AP Photo / Elise Amendola)

New guidelines announced Tuesday mean doctors and other health workers will no longer need extra hours of training to prescribe buprenorphine, a gold standard medicine that helps with cravings.