Cocaine on Denver streets could be more dangerous than usual – infused with an animal medication called levamisole that can kill or sicken those who snort or smoke it, the Denver Post reports. “We’re very concerned about public safety,” said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson. “Drugs are illegal and dangerous enough, much less when they’re laced with such a dangerous drug that’s corrosive to the body and potentially deadly.”
A victim of levamisole poisoning remains in a hospital after a week with a severely compromised immune system. The U.S. Department of Justice reported a spike in the use of levamisole in cocaine last year, from 9 percent of confiscated cocaine to 19 percent. Drug dealers commonly use cheaper powders, including talcum and aspirin, to cut cocaine and extend the supply for more sales. Health officials in New Mexico said in January they were investigating 11 poisoning cases, including one fatality, involving cocaine laced with levamisole.