What do zombies and cocaine have it common? Both can eat your flesh.
ABC News reports the snortable drug is responsible for an outbreak of a flesh-eating disease in New York and Los Angeles.
According to an April 2011 report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, 82 percent of street cocaine is laced with the veterinary drug levamisole, which is used to deworm cattle, pigs and sheep.
Levamisole can also rot the skin off noses, ears and cheeks, doctors says. Multiple cases of rotted flesh have already been reported.
Dealers usually use baking soda as a filler, but may have turned to the veterinary drug because it may extend the cocaine high, experts say.
Some drug users appear immune to the tainted blow, but others are severely affected. One doctor reported seeing a man whose entire body was black with dying flesh.
There’s more bad news: Levamisole also prevents the body’s creation of infection-fighting white blood cells.
“It’s a little bit like having HIV,” said Dr. Noah Craft, a dermatologist with Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute in the ABC article. “About 10 percent of those patients will die from severe infections. They may be walking around like a time bomb.”
If you ever needed a reason to quit, here’s your sign.