Trusted Content

Laced And Dangerous: Flesh-Eating Cocaine

Joseph Sitarik, DO

Medically reviewed by

Joseph Sitarik, DO

February 19, 2019

Recent reports have shown that a high percentage of cocaine bought on the streets is laced with a substance called levamisole. This substance has the potential to rot human flesh and leave users with irreversible health consequences.

Flesh-Eating Drugs

According to the DEA, over 80 percent of cocaine in the US contains levamisole, a deworming drug used in veterinary livestock care. The drug has been cut into cocaine supplies for years now and has been reported to cause a rotting effect on human flesh. The reports have included facial tissues on the nose, ears, and mouth withering and blackening, and at times, sloughing off.

Even more concerning is the report of immune failure in users whose white blood cell counts were diminished by the combined drugs. As the human immune system lowers by bone marrow being unable to produce an adequate number of white blood cells, flesh begins to die and cannot be regenerated if it is beyond a certain point.

The reports of flesh-eating cocaine have come in from several cities in the US, as well as Canada and England. While more than 5 million people in the US are regular cocaine users, these new and dangerous side effects of its use may prove to be adequate deterrents. The DEA has discovered within seized cocaine supplies that nearly every supply contained upwards of 10 percent of levamisole.

Though levamisole has also been discovered in other illegal drugs, such as heroin, the reported amounts were considered to be trace and were never noted in conjunction with the flesh-eating or the immune depleting side effects. As it stands, those in South American countries who export cocaine are said to be lacing it with levamisole on site, then sending it out. The suspected reason for this is that it accentuates the stimulant and causes an extra kick that users will mistake for “good” drugs, not knowing until the side effects kick in that they are ingesting or absorbing.

Possible Signs and Symptoms

  • Skin infections
  • Lesions and sores/abscesses
  • Fever, chills, and weakness
  • Thrush on the mouth and tongue (noticeable white spots)
  • Swollen glands

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Not Using = No Side Effects

Cocaine’s other dangerous side effects include:

  • increased blood pressure
  • brain damage
  • strokes
  • perforation of the lungs and nasal tissues
  • heart attack
  • ulcers
  • kidney failure
  • impaired sexual functions

These effects are those associated with cocaine, with or without the levamisole additive.

The only way to avoid these side effects, most of which are potentially lethal, is to not use cocaine. Cocaine, as it stands in today’s illegal drug industry, is more than likely tainted and can contribute more readily to death than in its unaffected use. As dangerous as the illegal drug is to begin with, alongside white blood cell deficiency, it is as threatening to the immune system as chemotherapy and isn’t worth the risk.

Preventatives And Getting Help

Doctors are working on a vaccine to prevent the effects of the tainted cocaine on the human skin, however, it is said that the vaccine only works for up to three months. Overall, the best way to maintain immunities and not suffer tissue loss is to avoid cocaine use. Doctors say that these immune deficiency side effects can be likened to that of HIV, which can be immediately life-threatening. Getting help for cocaine dependency is a click away.

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