Doctors Warn of New Risk in Cocaine Addiction

By Staff Writer

Cocaine addiction, in and of itself, is bad enough, but the drug is often mixed with other chemicals by dealers to dilute it. Aside from minimizing the substance’s purity, this also puts users at an increased risk of health complications, as the chemicals mixed with the drug are often extremely dangerous.

For example, a group of doctors from New York and Los Angeles reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that they have recently seen several patients who developed a severe skin condition after using cocaine.

The skin reaction resembles a condition known as agranulocytosis, which is known to be caused by exposure to the chemical levamisole. This medication is used in farming to deworm livestock and can be hazardous in humans. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has warned that up to 70 percent of all cocaine in the U.S. is contaminated with levamisole.

Those who are exposed to the drug often develop purple-colored regions of dying flesh on their faces. Individuals who suffer from cocaine addiction may be increasing their risk of developing the condition. The doctors warned public health officials of this growing problem.