Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

The Dangers of Using Contaminated Drugs

The Dangers of Using Contaminated DrugsIllegal drug use is dangerous for more reasons than just the risk of addiction and its effects. Drugs are often contaminated with other substances, and users have no way of knowing what exactly they are purchasing or using.

Intentional Drug Contamination

Some street or synthetic drugs include contaminants as part of their manufacture. Krokodil, a Russian street drug that is reportedly three times stronger than morphine, is named for the extreme reactions the body has to its toxic ingredients. The drug causes scaly skin at injection sites, which quickly becomes infected and can lead to gangrene and the need for amputation. The drug is manufactured using chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinner and lighter fluid, and these substances are responsible for the life-threatening damage caused to soft tissue and blood vessels. Methamphetamine is a drug famous for its inclusion of toxic chemicals such as battery acid, antifreeze and drain cleaner, and it has devastating effects on a person’s blood vessels and internal organs. Many health effects of these toxic drugs are irreversible, but ending use does allow for healing and keeps users’ health from deteriorating further.

Unregulated Drug Production

Street drugs are not regulated at any stage of manufacturing or sale, so there is no guarantee as to their content or quality. They often contain impurities that were not properly removed during refining, adulterants that enhance the effects of the drug or diluents that add bulk or volume to the drug or make it easier to dilute and inject. These substances affect the strength and safety of the drug and can contribute to allergic reactions, overdose and other unwanted results of use. Heroin and cocaine are two of the least pure drugs offered on the street, as the UK nonprofit organization DrugScope shares, having an average purity of 30%. If individuals come across samples of a higher purity, they may overdose. Testing drugs is the only way to know what you are buying and taking, yet individuals using illegal drugs do not have the means or methods to do so and put themselves at risk with each dose.

Ending the Dangers of Drug Use

Do not continue to put yourself in harm’s way. You can end addiction and the physical and mental health risks that accompany it. Call our toll-free number to learn more about getting treatment for yourself or a loved one. You can have a healthy, happy and drug-free life, and we can help. Admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day to take your call.

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