Cocaine is already widely know as a dangerous drug, and now that some folks are cutting cocaine with a dangerous substance, a certain cocaine floating around the world is even more hazardous to its users. Levamisole-contaminated cocaine, reports the Independent in a series of graphic photos, causes folks who snort or ingest the substance — which has been tainted or “cut” with cattle de-wormer — to experiencing horrible skin problems. As seen in the graphic photos of the cocaine users, their skin on their faces and ears and other parts of their bodies has turned red to purple.
Levamisole poisoning has led to horrible skin rotting in the fingers, ears, and noses of certain cocaine users, as well as other extremities such as the legs.
Other photos show that the cocaine users have experienced lesions that makes them appear similar to HIV patients. A dermatologist named Dr. Noah Craft, out of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, likened the tainted cocaine to suffering with HIV, reports ABC News, when he spoke in 2011 about the cocaine with levamisole that caused a number of poisoning cases in the U.S.
“It’s a little bit like having HIV.”
As reported by the British Medical Journal, the levamisole poisoning via cocaine can cause a bevy of problems. They detailed the testing of users’ hair to determine the presence of the cow de-wormer.
“Levamisole-contaminated cocaine can induce severe systemic vasculitis. The diagnosis can be challenging, especially when substance abuse is uncertain. We present the case of a 42-year-old woman suffering from vasculitis due to levamisole-contaminated cocaine, who persistently denied substance abuse. Symptoms included ulcerating skin lesions, arthralgia and myalgia, and the occurrence of an ileal intussusception.”
That’s where the graphic photos can be seen as a result of the toxins. The one patient in question was able to get better after stopping cocaine use, but once she began using cocaine again, the problems happened once more. According to experts, approximately 10 percent of those who are exposed to the tainted cocaine will die and are walking around in a dangerous state, like a ticking time bomb.
However, it’s hard for medical personnel to figure out who might be victims of the tainted cocaine because plenty of cocaine users don’t want to admit to using the drug when they end up in the hospital. This non-admission is either due to fear or embarrassment, but hospital staff says that honesty is important when dealing with doctors.
[Image by AIZAR RALDES NUNEZ/AFP/Getty Images]