Crack and powder cocaine are being cut with a hog dewormer, according to local addictions specialists and law enforcement.
The veterinary drug is toxic to humans and has been causing unpleasant symptoms in some users, even leading to hospitalization in cases.
Infections are a common side effect, but other symptoms include: fever and chills, swollen glands, painful sores in your mouth or anus, skin infection with dark skin patches, sore throat, and pneumonia.
Health officials are asking patients to let their health care provider know they have used crack or cocaine if they experience these symptoms or seek medical help.
The additive can not be removed by “cooking” or filtering, and a person cannot determine which additive has been added without chemical tests.
A recent information session and public meeting held at the high school provided information to parents concerned about the drug use in the community.
Only a handful of parents attended, but they received information about what signs to look for that may indicate a youth is using drugs.
Addictions counsellors told parents to watch for a loss of interest in previous sports or hobbies, changes in their social groups, extreme irritability or moodiness, changes to sleep or eating patterns and a sudden secretive attitude towards his or her space or possessions.
The general advice for parents is to get informed on the subject and have a calm talk with their children, maintaining an open door and giving them resources they can go to if they want to get help.
If use escalates into serious addiction, parents can look out for failing grades, skipping school and involvement in criminal activity. Some other symptoms by frequent users to watch for are constantly runny nose and touching their nose, extreme weight loss, and sweating (experienced immediately after use).
The common trend in many heave drug users is increased problems in school and relationships.
With intense use, impotence or loss of sexual desire can also result.
One online resource is the United States Government’s National Institute for Drug Abuse site at: www.drugabuse.gov.