Euphoria Up, Immune System Down: Local Cocaine Supply Tainted With Anti-Parasite Cattle Drug

These guys are on the case
This is something you don't hear about in Clipse songs, though with the way it's supposedly gaining steam, maybe you will. Seattle public health authorities are reporting that local cocaine supplies have been tainted with levamisole, an anti-parasite drug used on cattle. The drug will reduce users' white-blood cell counts and thus their immune systems, making them more susceptible to all sorts of maladies. Among them:

o High fever, chills or weakness

o Swollen glands

o Infections or sores in the mouth, skin, or anus

o White coating of the mouth, tongue or throat (thrush)

o Pneumonia, which includes cough, fever, and shortness of breath

In a letter to the Annals of Emergency Medicine, a New Orleans emergency room doctor adds confusion, extreme fatigue, seizure, and other nervous system disturbances to the list.

The DEA says levamisole has been turning up more and more in seized cocaine--in the summer of 2008, they found it in 30% of their seizures. Why this drug and not presumably cheaper traditional cocaine diluents like mannitol and talc? "I offered to go down to Colombia to investigate," says Dr. Bob Wood, Director of the Health Department's HIV/AIDS program, "but King County wouldn't pay for it."

Perhaps the most likely explanation is that Levamisole, like cocaine, "[increases] dopamine concentrations in the euphoric centers of the brain", and thus might provide a better high, albeit at a steep cost. (h/t Seattle 911 Blog)

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