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Jun
24

U.S. Cocaine Supply Tainted with Flesh-Eating Veterinary Vaccine

Before you line it up this weekend and make like Dirt Nasty in 1980, you should be aware that the veterinary drug levamisole, commonly used to deworm cattle, pigs and sheep is being blamed for an outbreak of a flesh-eating disease that has been reported in New York and L.A.

Dr. Noah Craft, a dermatologist for the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute has linked the appearance of dark purple patches of decaying skin on at least six cocaine users to levamisole in a case study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. And he is just one of several doctors across the country to make the connection to a tainted cocaine supply.

An April 2011 report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration revealed that eighty-two percent of seized cocaine contains levamisole.

“It’s important for people to know it’s not just in New York and L.A. It’s in the cocaine supply of the entire U.S.,” Craft said.

There is no way to pinpoint the severity of symptoms or where the next outbreak will strike. “Rich or poor, black or white,” anyone who uses cocaine is at risk, Craft said.  Cases vary from mild to severe appearances of rotting flesh in a range of color from deep purple to black. Once the drug has left the body, the wounds do heal but leave visible, shiny scars.

In addition to rotting your skin, levamisole also shares a similarity with HIV in that it also prevents the production of white blood cells in bone marrow and can prove to be fatal if left untreated or subjected to continued use of cocaine cut with levamisole.

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