Cocaine Causing Unexpected Side Effects
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Doctors are reporting cases of drying and decaying skin on patients; bodies. It's caused by the use of contaminated cocaine. It's a condition that's showing up here in Rochester and across the country.
It's no secret that using recreational drugs is bad for you, but here's one that might surprise you. 70% of the cocaine on the street in the U.S. contains a veterinary drug used to de-worm livestock.
"People don't usually come to a doctor and say, 'I use cocaine.' so, if they are coming they really need help," Dr. Art Papier, of Logical Images said.
Doctors across the country and here in Rochester, have been seeing patients with black-purplish patches on their ear, cheeks, noses and bodies.
"That's causing the blood vessels to be swollen, which means blood isn't flowing to their skin and organs which it should be. So, patients are showing up with death on their skin," Dr. Papier said.
Dr. Papier, with Logical Images,
a company that provides a visual database to help doctors make a diagnoses, says this isn't new.
"Though it's hitting the press now, this diagnoses has been in the information systems for doctors for 13 months," Dr. Papier said.
What's happening is dealers are adding a drug to make the cocaine stretch further and make the high last longer.
"The cocaine is being cut with a drug called Levamisole. It's a de-worming agent for livestock," Dr. Papier said.
Recently, Dr. Papier received 4 cases from the U of R The same week, he received cases from UCLA. Logical Images knew it had a larger problem at hand.
"Your skin is being starved of nutrients and that causes pain. It's not just a cosmetic issue. This is a serious medical problem," Dr. Papier said.
But the contaminated cocaine also causes internal problems by damaging organs and decreasing white blood cell counts, which puts a person at higher risk for infection.
"When they use illicit drugs, when they use illegal drugs, they are unaware of what's in the drug," Dr. Papier said.
Researchers say the side effects of the tainted cocaine are actually very painful. The treatment for something like this is typically steroids but doctors say the best treatment is simply quitting cocaine.