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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Now Drug Dealers (Not Just Users) Are Testing Their Cocaine for Levamisole

Posted by on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Levamisole* is still in the world's cocaine supply and our levamisole test kits—which The Stranger, along with the People's Harm-Reduction Alliance and DanceSafe, first launched into the world in 2010—are still around, too.

The anonymous, pre-stamped survey postcards that come with the kits still trickle in from time to time. Today, one arrived that was a little different. It wasn't from an individual user testing a little baggy—this person tested a larger quantity of cocaine. (A quarter kilo? Four kilos? Fourteen kilos?) It had all been cut with levamisole.

levamkilo080_black.jpg
  • The Stranger

In a way, this is exactly what I'd hoped would happen—that levamisole and awareness of its potentially dangerous effects would first start to worry customers, who would then mention that to their dealers, who would pass the concern up the chain. Two years ago, almost nobody had heard of levamisole. Now, at least one person with quantity took the time to get a kit and test his/her product—and make a frowny-face emoticon because it tested positive.

That is a kind of small progress. Because as long as drug prohibition is the rule in the US, and no legal authority can help with realistic drug awareness and quality control, citizens will have to do it for themselves.

And to preempt the people-should-just-stop-using-drugs argument—go ask Nancy Reagan how much the US spent on its D.A.R.E. and "Just Say No" campaigns. Then ask her why we still have so many drug users, casual as well as hardcore, and so many prohibition-related harms that we all have to deal with, from crime to quality of life to burdens on our prison and health-care systems.

Just Say No just doesn't work.

* Levamisole is a de-worming drug for livestock that is being cut into the world's cocaine supply for reasons that are somewhere between mysterious and clear, and can cause a catastrophic crash of a person's immune system. It has made some users ill and some users dead. If you're curious about this, you can find a whole series of articles about it here.

 

Comments (18) RSS

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1
I don't think they meant 1 out of 4 kilos. I think they meant one-fourth of a kilo.
Posted by doceb on September 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
2
Could be. That number is a little hard to read.
Posted by Brendan Kiley on September 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Dougsf 3
This ads an interesting legal element should the dealer choose to sell the product, knowing the added potential for harm. Or maybe it doesn't, I'm not a lawyer.
Posted by Dougsf on September 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
LEE. 4
"This ads an interesting legal element should the dealer get caught selling the product, knowing the added potential for harm. Or maybe it doesn't, I'm not a lawyer."

fixed that for you. I can't assume there's refunds in this game, and I can't imagine some street-level dealer is going to toss a grand or so.
Posted by LEE. on September 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
5
Call me crazy, but I still can't shake the idea that this could be a radical new drug policy enacted by a US agency abroad- think about it: convince South American drug cartels to start cutting product with Levamisole under the guise of increasing profits, which eventually will scare US customers away from the drug supply. Eventually all the cocaine users are either scared off the stuff or dead, and demand dries up- which is a win/win/win when all you care about is enforcing drug policy.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on September 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Dougsf 6
@4 - I didn't mean consumer protection-wise, I meant "we busted you selling coke, and now we're gonna try and prove you knew it was coke that had way more of a chance of killing (or did kill) your buyers than they bargained for."

I'm sure the "busted selling coke" part is enough for some prosecutors, but I wonder if one would explore this angle as well.
Posted by Dougsf on September 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM · Report this
7
The Stranger should tell us where to buy coke. MMJ is so boring.
Posted by ishf on September 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
8
So is there here say of anyone marketin coke (at a increased price point, naturally) as tested and clean? Pay more for the piece of mind and to cover costs of what had to be flushed?)

I don't use coke or even live in WA anymore but the adaptations of the free est market is interesting.
Posted by MarketingGeek on September 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
9
You see, this is why my drug of choice is good old-fashioned homemade-by-Mom meth.

(Not really. Drugs are bad, m'kay?)
Posted by Corydon on September 11, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 10
1/4kg of bad cocaine. Somebody's contemplating a tough conversation right now.
Posted by Eric Arrr on September 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
11
It must be nice to be a cokehead hipster. Here's a tip: DONT DO COKE, problem solved.
Posted by fetish on September 11, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 12
@11 actually, i think it kind of sucks to be a cokehead hipster right now, since, you know, the dying.
Posted by More, I Say! on September 11, 2012 at 4:43 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 13
@4: of course. the government poisoned bootleg liquor during prohibition. it's how my great uncle george died. it's a very believable theory, don't you think, brendan?
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on September 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM · Report this
seattlestew 14
"And to preempt the people-should-just-stop-using-drugs argument—go ask Nancy Reagan how much the US spent on its D.A.R.E. and "Just Say No" campaigns. Then ask her why we still have so many drug users...."

Or how about we just ask the prohibitionist puritans what the fuck is so wrong with using drugs now and then? (Booze included.)
Posted by seattlestew on September 11, 2012 at 5:22 PM · Report this
LEE. 15
@11

I think the hipsters Billy Mays and Andrew Breitbart would take issue with your assumption.
Posted by LEE. on September 11, 2012 at 7:38 PM · Report this
aliencoffebandit 16
you can just convert it to crack to get rid of the impurities. theres a reason people do that
Posted by aliencoffebandit on September 11, 2012 at 8:27 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 17
Levamisole is definitely in crack. Treated 3 crack users for levamisole-related infections in the last few months.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on September 12, 2012 at 6:58 AM · Report this
18
Client service is very important to businesses these days, its no wonder drug dealers are doign this.
Posted by dbgill56 on September 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this

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