Sunday, July 17, 2011

Skin-Rotting Substance Found in U.S. Cocaine

If you think the Russians--with their flesh-eating krokodil--have a monopoly on drug-induced skin diseases, think again.  We have yet another gangrenous scandal to report, this time involving cocaine.

According to Science Daily, cocaine users have been coming down with a strange skin condition known as purpura, or purpling of the skin.  The disease is thought to be caused by levamisole--a substance added to cocaine by drug dealers as a bulking agent.

Once used to treat cancer, levamisole is rarely prescribed to humans today due to the risk for serious side effects (see rotting ear above).  Its main use is in veterinary medicine, where it is administered to livestock as an anti-worming agent.

Science Daily reports that levamisole was detected in about 30 percent of cocaine samples confiscated in 2008 and a whopping 70 percent in 2009.  For all you statistical geniuses out there, that's a huge increase.  Phenomenal really.  This unfortunate situation hits even closer to home than the horrific krokodil story and is poised to affect thousands, if not millions, of Americans.

Call me a preachy Patty, but it has to be said:  gruesome complications like these could be completely sidestepped by ending the drug war.  While the strange skin condition is caused by levamisole (NOT cocaine), mainstream media will likely blame it on cocaine itself, finding yet another excuse to spew forth vile propaganda.  Until governments and health agencies take back control of street drugs, people will continue to suffer needlessly as a result of drug impurities, abstinence-only drug education and other state-inflicted issues. It's time we stand up and demand smarter drug policies in America.

Obama, won't you lend us your ear?

Science Daily: Contaminated Cocaine Triggers Decaying, Dying Skin


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