One-Third of U.S. Cocaine Tainted With Dangerous Livestock Drug

By Allison Bond | September 1, 2009 3:43 pm

cocaineAlmost one-third of the cocaine seized in the United States is tainted with the livestock deworming medication levamisole, according to Drug Enforcement Administration documents the Associated Press received.

Levamisole, which can give users a more intense high, weakens the immune system, and has killed at least three people and sickened 100 in Canada and the United States. What’s more, physicians remain largely unaware of the tainted drugs, leaving them helpless to diagnose or treat those affected. “I would think it would be fair to say the vast majority of doctors in the United States have no idea this is going on,” said Eric Lavonas, assistant director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, where as much as half of the cocaine is believed to contain levamisole. “You can’t diagnose a disease you’ve never heard of” [Associated Press].

Because of the particular distribution mechanism of cocaine, it may be difficult to get the warning out to people at risk. “It’s not like you can put [a warning] on the bottle” [Associated Press], says Lavonas. 

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Image: iStockphoto

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Scott

    Mmmm, drugs are baaaad, mmmmkay?

  • bigjohn756

    Problems such as this will disappear once we legalize and regulate ‘recreational’ drugs. Hasn’t anyone in recent times read about the dismal failure of the 18th amendment back in the 20s? Our government’s so called war on drugs is exactly the same thing except the law was legislated rather than created by an amendment. Both were religiously motivated, not driven by common sense. Every religious law, amendment, or proposed amendment that I can think of removes or limits individual rights rather than attempting to control a problem.

  • Jumblepudding

    could one then extrapolate that 30% of US currency contains levamisole, since 90% contains cocaine?

  • choo choo charlie

    I wish that was the only thing they cut it with. There’s a reason the price hasn’t gone up in 20 years. As for legalization, why would the people making money from prohibition relinquish their control? People who are primarily motivated by money aren’t moved by ethical arguments. A bloated prison system and a generation of crack babies born to fill it means as much to them as a grain of sand in the desert.

  • Huh?

    Oh no! Our cocaine is tainted? Isn’t it already basically poison? : /

  • tj

    I’m not sure I see the problem here. If it reduces the dregs of society, perhaps we can then put the focus on real problems such as Cancer, Aids, Child Starvation, etc., people that have real problems. I have no remorse for people that bring drugs and the after effects onto themselves! Life is about the choices you make.


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