Deadly animal drug found in Denver cocaine *LINK*
Posted By: seshatasefekht In Response To: Cocaine Laced With Cow-Worming Drug Sickens Americ *LINK* (seshatasefekht)
Date: Saturday, 19 December 2009, at 10:18 a.m.
In Response To: Cocaine Laced With Cow-Worming Drug Sickens Americ *LINK* (seshatasefekht)
The additive can poison a body, and a Denver man has already been hospitalized.
By Joey Bunch
The Denver Post
Posted: 03/06/2009 12:30:00 AM MST
Updated: 03/06/2009 06:13:03 AM MST
Cocaine on Denver streets could be more dangerous than usual — infused with an animal medication that can kill or sicken those who snort or smoke it, police and health officials warned Thursday.
"We're very concerned about public safety," said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson.
"Drugs are illegal and dangerous enough, much less when they're laced with such a dangerous drug that's corrosive to the body and potentially deadly."
A victim of levamisole poisoning remains in Denver Health Medical Center after showing up at the hospital last week with a severely compromised immune system, officials said.
Police are aggressively searching for the source of the drugs, Jackson said.
So far the unidentified Denver man is the only known metro-area victim.
The U.S. Department of Justice reported a spike in the use of levamisole in cocaine last year, from 9 percent of confiscated cocaine to 19 percent.
Drug dealers commonly use cheaper powders, including talcum and aspirin, to cut cocaine and extend the supply for more sales. Officials aren't speculating on why levamisole, a relatively expensive additive, is turning up.
Health officials in New Mexico said in January they were investigating 11 poisoning cases, including one fatality, involving cocaine laced with levamisole. Users range in age from 26 to 72, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.
Levamisole poisoning cases have also been reported in New York, Delaware and Canada since January 2008, according to public health warnings from those states.
"Now, more than ever, it is important for people who use cocaine to stop immediately and get into treatment," Denver Public Health director Chris Urbina said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Early warning signs of the poisoning are fever and chills. Anyone who has used cocaine but has not shown those symptoms should still seek immediate medical help, authorities urged.
Because of its blow to the immune system, a common infection could prove deadly, they said.
As a cancer-treatment drug, levamisole has the potential severe side effects of hives, difficulty breathing, closing of the throat and swelling of the lips, tongue or face, as well as fainting, confusion, extreme fatigue, memory loss and numbness or tingling, according to medical references.
Joey Bunch: 303-954-1174 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What is levamisole?
Levamisole is a primarily used to fight worm infestations in cattle, pigs and sheep. It is also a chemotherapy drug for colon cancer.
Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_11848193#ixzz0a9F61OMM
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