Friday, June 5, 2009

White Ain't Right: Tainted cocaine sends Seattleites to hospitals

Damn. Folks can't even get high no more.

Taken from in Seattle:

Contaminated cocaine is making its way into the Seattle area, said public health officials, and it's already sent three patients to hospitals with life-threatening illnesses this past month.

Each case is likely linked to cocaine contaminated by levamisole, an anti-worming medication for pets, which in humans depletes white blood cells, effectively compromising the body's immune system.

"Typically people then develop overwhelming infections and get admitted into intensive care units," said Dr. Bob Wood with Seattle-King County Public Health.

While the three patients have recovered, Wood says others around the world have died. Either way, the price of hospital treatment and care is high. One of the Seattle cases cost more than $100,000.

"Some of those folks may have insurance," said Dr. Wood. "And then the insurance will pick it up, but then the insurance company will spread it around the health care system and we'll all be paying for it."

No one seems to know how or why the chemical is getting into cocaine shipments, though drug experts speculate the white powder is being used to dilute supplies. A 2008 DEA report says up to 30 percent of seized cocaine now contains traces of levamisole.

Meanwhile, Seattle King County Public Health is warning area hospitals and other agencies to be on the lookout for more cases.

And they're warning cocaine users with serious infection-like symptoms to seek medical attention rather than hide their drug use.

Yet another reason drugs should be legalized. I remember writing a speech for Public Speaking class in college where I said that all drugs should be legalized and that the profits from the drugs should be used to build treatment programs and facilities for people who are addicted or for people to go there and use to keep them from effing around in the street. But like Chris Rock said, drugs like cocaine and weed will never be legalized in America because America doesn't make the best shit.

Funny thing about this story is that I can't remember ever seeing such a open-arm approach to drug use. For real, the news and public health board want people to put their pride to the side and come get checked out, they actually want to take care of them. Could this be a thing where since most people that use cocaine have money and may be considered well-to-do that the media and health board figure they should be informed and helped out?

Because I can't imagine them doing the same if a crop of bad crackrocks hit the streets, not that there is a such thing as good crackrocks, just saying. Hell, are any cities doing anything like this for these kids out here smoking "loud packs" (weed soaked and laced in gasoline). Probably not since a lot of people who smoke weed and crack can't afford insurance and high ass hospital bills anyway.

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