Cocaine Cut With Cattle Dewormer Rots Human Flesh, Study Says

By McCarton Ackerman 09/23/15

Researchers found that cocaine is being cut with Levamisole.

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Although the health risks associated with cocaine use are well-documented, this could be the most shocking one yet: a new report has found that cocaine shipped to the United States and United Kingdom is regularly cut with a cattle dewormer that causes human flesh to wither and die.

Findings published in the British Medical Journal showed that the cocaine is often cut with Levamisole, which is normally used by vets as a livestock dewormer. It was banned from human consumption in the United States in 2000 due to its skin-rotting effects that can affect the nose, cheeks and ears, in addition to causing ears to turn black. Plummeting white blood cell counts are also another severe side effect. These effects typically take place days after the cocaine use due to an immune reaction that attacks the blood vessels.

The study specifically highlighted the story of a 42-year-old woman who initially entered the hospital due to sores on her skin and pain across her body, but It turned out the skin sores were due to a condition called vasculitis, where the blood vessels become inflamed. The condition was caused by Levamisole that she later admitted came from consuming cocaine.

This isn’t an uncommon trend, either. A 2011 report by the Drug Enforcement Administration found that 82% of seized cocaine contained Levamisole, while an analysis conducted last year in the United Kingdom by Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker showed that 80% of seized shipments on the other side of the pond also contained Levamisole. But instead of being cut with glucose or baking soda, it’s now common for Latin American drug producers to add the drug into the cocaine before shipping it off to Europe.

It also appears that the concentration of the Levamisole in cocaine has also increased over the years. A June 2012 study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that the content was less than 1% in 2001, but soared to 10% in 2009 and has continued to slightly increase since then.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.