- August 22, 2018
Apart from the many other dangers of using illegal drugs, one big concern when you’re purchasing from strangers or on your neighborhood street corner is that you have no way of knowing what those drugs might have been cut or contaminated with. Dealers often cut drugs – mixing them with other substances to pad them out and make the actual product stretch farther – and some of the things they use for this purpose are truly cringe-worthy.
A writer from the magazine Vice spoke to various drug dealers, asking them about the worst thing they’d ever used to cut their drugs. Their answers might make you think twice about picking up that next hit. One cocaine dealer recounted being told by a customer that they only buy bags that smelled of gas, because that was supposedly how they would determine if it was pure, so the dealer rubbed the bag with a towel that had been dipped in gas. A meth dealer added Epsom salts to his product when he didn’t have enough of the drug to make an ounce. Another man who dealt MDMA used to cut his product with meth, which resulted in especially severe comedowns, to the point where a friend of his committed suicide after consuming it.
No matter the drug, it’s most likely got some kind of filler. Focusing on cocaine alone, some of them are innocuous enough – for instance, baking soda, cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour are commonly mixed in – but other fillers are considerably more alarming. Stimulants are sometimes added both because they’re cheaper than cocaine and because they can enhance the high. Some examples are strychnine, a highly toxic substance that is often used as a pesticide; methylphenidate (Ritalin, an ADHD medication), which can cause irregular heartbeat, delirium, panic, psychosis, and heart failure; and amphetamines.
Some other common cocaine additives include: chalk, laundry detergent, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), quinine (an anti-malaria medication that lead to kidney failure, blindness, and death when mixed with other drugs), boric acid (Borax, a cleaning agent used in homemade laundry detergent), laxatives, meat tenderizer, Plaster of Paris (a building and decorative material that can contain gypsum, lime, or cement), creatine (a supplement often used to boost athletic performance), and lidocaine (a medication used to numb issue or as a nerve blocker).
Another concern is fentanyl, a highly addictive narcotic, which is frequently mixed with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and other drugs, often without the user’s knowledge. In a single week in 2016, there were dozens of cases in Sacramento County, California where people had overdosed on the prescription opiate Norco contaminated with fentanyl. At least six of those people died.
If the effects of cocaine alone aren’t enough to dissuade you, the next time you’re considering using, stop for a moment and think about what else you might be ingesting. It’s easy enough to tell yourself that you aren’t going to overdose, but do you really want to snort rat poison?
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.