Cocaine additive causing serious illness & death - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cocaine additive causing serious illness & death

SPOKANE, Wash. - One local death and another three serious illnesses may be linked to a nationwide cocaine contamination problem.

Patients with this condition elsewhere in the country, including Seattle, had life threatening infections requiring hospitalization and intensive care unit admittance, due to their use of cocaine contaminated with a drug used to treat animals.

Called levamisole, the contaminant critically reduces a person's white blood cells, causing a condition known as agranulocytosis, where the affected person loses ability to fight infection.

The Spokane Regional Health District is taking steps now to warn users of this potentially fatal mixture, while investigation of illnesses possibly caused by cocaine contaminated with levamisole is on-going. The Health District is working with a research doctor to identify local cases.

"We want anyone who uses cocaine to know about this added danger," said Dr. Joel McCullough, Health Officer for the Spokane Regional Health District, "because people cannot tell if their cocaine or crack is contaminated just by looking at it, they need to know that they now face an even bigger risk when they use dangerous drugs like cocaine."

Levamisole is likely added to the cocaine product at the point of production outside of the United States. It can seriously reduce a persons white blood cells, suppressing immune function and the body's ability to fight off even minor infections.

People who snort, smoke, or inject crack or powder cocaine contaminated by levamisole can develop overwhelming, rapidly developing, and life threatening infections. Symptoms include:

  • High fever, chills or
  • Swollen glands
  • Infections or sores in the mouth, skin, or anus
  • White coating of the mouth, tongue or throat (thrush)
  • Pneumonia, which includes cough, fever, and shortness of breath

People using cocaine and experiencing any of these symptoms should seek medical attention at an emergency room or other medical provider immediately. Cocaine causes overdose and death every year in Spokane.

 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Man arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriend

    Man arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriend

    Friday, September 22 2017 2:17 PM EDT2017-09-22 18:17:27 GMT
    Man arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriendMan arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriend

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On September 21st, just before 5:30 pm Officers responded to a home in the area of Mansfield and Ash. A woman told police that her ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Brandon Vanlanham, was assaulting her. The woman stated she had a restraining order against Vanlanham, which Police confirmed. When officers arrived to the home, they discovered that Vanlanham had fled the scene.  About two hours later the woman called 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On September 21st, just before 5:30 pm Officers responded to a home in the area of Mansfield and Ash. A woman told police that her ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Brandon Vanlanham, was assaulting her. The woman stated she had a restraining order against Vanlanham, which Police confirmed. When officers arrived to the home, they discovered that Vanlanham had fled the scene.  About two hours later the woman called 

    >>
  • Coeur d’Alene armed robbery suspect arrested thanks to tips from citizens

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:55 AM EDT2017-09-22 11:55:36 GMT

    UPDATE: Detectives with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department were able to identify and arrest Christopher N Guinasso for the armed robbery at Jordan’s Grocery on September 20, 2017. Guinasso is a 20 year old male from Coeur d’Alene. He was booked into the Kootenai County Jail for one count of Robbery.

    >>

    UPDATE: Detectives with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department were able to identify and arrest Christopher N Guinasso for the armed robbery at Jordan’s Grocery on September 20, 2017. Guinasso is a 20 year old male from Coeur d’Alene. He was booked into the Kootenai County Jail for one count of Robbery.

    >>
  • Toddler dies after being hit by truck in church parking lot

    Toddler dies after being hit by truck in church parking lot

    Thursday, September 21 2017 8:21 PM EDT2017-09-22 00:21:04 GMT

    PARKLAND, Wash. (AP) - An 18-month-old girl has died after she was struck by a truck in the parking lot of a church in Parkland. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department says the girl was taken to a hospital late Tuesday where she died of her injuries. The department says a 35-year-old female driver had been parked in front of the Lamb of God Christian Community Church Tuesday night. After talking to a relative, the woman pulled her truck 

    >>

    PARKLAND, Wash. (AP) - An 18-month-old girl has died after she was struck by a truck in the parking lot of a church in Parkland. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department says the girl was taken to a hospital late Tuesday where she died of her injuries. The department says a 35-year-old female driver had been parked in front of the Lamb of God Christian Community Church Tuesday night. After talking to a relative, the woman pulled her truck 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/