The Mystery of the Tainted Cocaine

What's a drug used to deworm livestock—a drug that can obliterate your immune system—doing in your cocaine? Nobody knows.


Brilliant, well-researched, relentless article. Your proactive test kit distribution program is unprecedented for a media organization in my memory. Micro-caveat: Medellín, not Medallín.
Quiet Eugenics
Interesting read. Nice on, Mr. Kiley.
Damn--why isn't the FDA protecting us on this?
When/where will these test kits be available?
Superb article. I'm glad I got the chance to read it.
This is amazing. Get those kits out to the people who need them!
wow, brendan. what a fascinating read, and what a good thing you are doing. thank you!
Shouldn't be too hard to track down. Levamisole isn't exactly sitting on the beach like sea salt, waiting to be dried and refined – it has to be made in a factory, and I doubt there's 50,000 little backyard operations making it. Follow the Levamisole from suppliers to growers, right?
Amazing piece of investigative journalism.
Very interesting article...well done!
well done.
@4 - because the FDA doesn't regulate illegal drugs. Er, that is, the government is regulating these drugs by making it absolutely illegal to use them. See how that works?
This is some fine reporting, but the proactive step of distributing the levamisole detection kit goes way above and beyond. Advocacy journalism at its finest.
Levamisole? In MY cocaine?
It's more likely than you think.
Free drug check!
Are you actually trying to make the case that cocaine users are worried about their health and have a legitimate right to a safe product? Let the law of natural selection take it's course.
well written article... thanks for the info. i've used levamisole in a research laboratory as an alkaline phosphatase inhibitor, but wasn't aware of its role in the narcotics industry.
Every now and then I think I am going to give up on the Stranger - then an article like this comes along. great work. Great work.
A good read and a good deed. Thank you.
Fantastic article!!!
Apparently "natural selection" means "childish fantasy where Those Bad Drug Users die in the street." I'm sure that living in a society where such a policy is allowed wont eventually affect you at all. Grow up.
If upwards of 70% of cocaine is tainted with an even more dangerous substance, maybe the rational response is not a test kit. Might it be time to consider switching from coke to something less likely to kill you?
Excellent work--it's so refreshing to read passionate investigative advocacy journalism.

And didn't the 1987 Whoopi Goldberg anti-drug action classic Fatal Beauty already answer these questions? Some production workers fooled around too much with the Columbian cuckoo powder and cut it with everything in sight. There's a bitchin' mall shoot-out in the end.
Newsflash to any dumb cunt that does coke or meth. The people that sell this shit are human garbage. They're not worried about where the shit came from and who stepped on it. Stick with weed. Mess with anything else and you deserve whatever you get.
Not to be too much of a conspiracy nut (especially since I've seen no evidence to support this) but has it occurred to anyone that this could be the workings of an outside drug enforcement agency? It just seems incredible odd that thousands of small manufacturers all came up with the idea to use levamisole on their own... Is it possible that an outside influence could plant the idea to use levamisole (using the manufacturing advantages you've listed) in an effort to create fear in the end user and ultimately crush the demand for cocaine?
A+, Brendan and company.
Everyone touting "Those evil coke/crack/meth users get what they deserve!!!" don't realize that YOU, THE TAXPAYER, will pay the price for their irresponsibility.

When Joe the Crack addict (Joe the Plumber's doppelgaenger) gets Agranulocytosis and heads to the ER to get his uninsured-ass treated, YOU, THE TAXPAYER will be responsible for footing the bill. Yes, Joe is an asshole/stupid/irresponsible/etc. for being a crack addict, but he's not going to just "die off" or "get what he deserves", he's going to get sick and become an even more immense burden on society. Get him a test kit, offer him treatment while he is getting the test kit and you will, as the article said, save an immense amount of public funds.

Amazing piece of investigative journalism.
@24 - because the Mexican weed smuggling gangs who are decapitating journalists only do it for the love of the toker. RIIIIIGGGGHHHTTT.
@29: Also, "you, the insurance premium payer." The costs for people who don't pay for their medical care are largely passed on to those who do in the form of higher premiums and higher charges for services.
How complicated could this test kit be? Wouldn't it be more efficient (and more legal) to publish how to make one's own test kit?
Awesome article, Brendan.
@30 How complicated could inventing this testing kit be? Wouldn't it be more efficient to figure it out yourself?
The networking, chemistry know how and effort that went into this kit's origination are not negligible. Neither are the ongoing questions of sourcing the materials. DanceSafe sells kits to test the identities of several sorts of drugs. The instructions for these testing kits *are* available online. Still, people by and large find it much more practical to enjoy DanceSafe's effort, and buy the kits from them.
Thank you DanceSafe and Dr. Clark!
and thank you to everybody else who's gotten on board for the distribution part of the conversation.
@32 Making specialized test reagents isn't trivial stuff. In some cases, only a university lab would even have the equipment. Expecting crack-heads to be able to make anything more complicated than a toasted pop-tart is asking a lot. With any luck, they might be able to follow the instructions in the pre-made kit.

Brendan, and The Stranger: once upon a time, the "Mainstream Media" would occasionally take public leadership on a life-saving issue. Well, the mainstream media has whored itself out of that arena. Thank god for an alternative weekly with a sense of public service! Outstanding.
@32 Sorry, my comment @33 was intended for @30.
Awesome article Brendan! Great job. Many thanks to you and The Stranger for this.
Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
16,000th Percentage? I don't understand the graph at the top.
Guess I'll keep gettin high on Jesus and beatin my wife
There oughtta be a law against that.
I'm sorry to hear people are getting cold sympotms by dirty coke, but do you understand that coke is also cut with slavery? genocide? happening right now??? Anyone who has been to Colombia knows that you cannot meet nicer, warmer people. They are being held in a state of poverty as a direct result of our hunger for blow, millions homeless and displaced. Something like 90% of all the cocaine in the world comes from Colombia. This is a country that has it's head held under water because of our taste for cocaine. I wish you could see how fucked up this is. South America is witnessing a fucking BLOODBATH horrorshow that is the direct result of that ball you're going to buy next month.
I know that the people who are ridiculously anti-drug will tell me I need to cut him off and blah blah blah, uncle is a crack addict. 20 years. 3 times in rehab. I love my uncle; his addiction has never really effected my sister and I like it effects the rest of the family. Also, he's unusual in that he's never stolen from his family (although, who he has stolen from is unknown). My uncle was the guy who would buy us ice cream or give us money to go rent a movie. He never involved us in his drug addiction. Not actively anyway. I remember reading about this a few years ago and worrying about him. I still worry about him, constantly. I still text him and ask him to get help, with no answers. I haven't heard from him in a year and I worry that he's dead from and overdose or something like this.

It's an excellent piece, Brendan. I'm glad someone is looking into it, because we can't rely on the mainstream media to care while Lindsey's in jail. Also, it's nice to see someone who appeals to pragmatism and taxes on this issue, which (sadly) is more likely to make it relevant to more people. Maybe my uncle is a crack addict, but he's still a human and he's still my uncle.
@40, 41: Which is it? Occasionally or not?
Thank God someone care! I'm going to donate money to the PHRA just based on this story! Thank you so much for sharing and I hope that these addicts can one day get clean, but until then, I want them to be as safe as possible because they are people and I want them to have the opportunity to live long, happy and productive lives!
One more reason the war on drugs is a waste of lives and money. If it were legal it could be regulated.
Fantastic article. Good job Brendan, and kudos to Stranger publisher Tim Keck for helping get the testing kits out there.
This article is alarmist. The average "weekend warrior" snorting a few bumps will have NO effect from the levamisole. the highest percentage of people who will be hurt by this are crack addicted women who have a genetic marker making them more suceptible to agranulocytosis. Specifically women of First Nations and Native American heritage according to the recent findings of medical professionals in King County and Canada. No one has died from agranulocytosis because as long as they stop smoking/injecting/snorting for a short while their white blood cell counts and symptoms go away. Not to say that this isnt concerning and that they shouldnt be testing. THEY SHOULD. but to act like we are all gonna die if we snort a bump at a party. Absolutely Not.
@48 you have a great point; you are not all going to die if you do a bump at a party, but a lot of other people DID die for that bump to make it to the party. Does no one know about that or does no one care? I'm just curious.
Great reporting! Lots of very interesting stuff I didn't know in here. Good work, Brendan!
What a great read good job Brendan I would have to agree with the unpaid commenter (#25)it all smells a bit fishy.What a sad, sad world it has become.
Thank God someone care! I'm going to donate money to the PHRA just based on this story! Thank you so much for sharing and I hope that these addicts can one day get clean, but until then, I want them to be as safe as possible because they are people and I want them to have the opportunity to live long, happy and productive lives!
I'm trying to picture myself feeling sorry for hipster fuckwits who put this shit up their noses and then end up in the ER ... Nope, not happening.

This reminds me of the scare news articles pumped out in the late 1990s in Reno and Sacramento regarding meth bumps mixed with a lil' heroin. Apparently the heroin was super clean and the little tweakers were ODing. Shit, too bad.

Even 100% pure cocaine has a ridiculously high percentage of gasoline additives and lead. That's because the producers in Columbia discovered years ago that nothing separates coke from coca leaves as well as leaded gasoline.

The article is kinda like saying: THIS JUST IN, HARD DRUGS ARE BAD FOR YA, KIDS!

Less obnoxious hipsters is just fine by me.
I think it's a very well written and well researched arcticle, but I think the least shocking thing about cocaine is the cutting agents. pssssssss guys, you're not going to believe it, but there's cocaine in your cocaine!!! but maybe you don't know what that really means. it's not made in nice clean sanitary laboratories, it's made in the jungle. The way they recruit these workers is pretty cool too. Basically the FARC pass through the poorest area they can find and pass notes under all the doors of the houses saying that if you don't send your sons to x place tomorrow to come work for us we will be back and kill your whole family. And they make good on their promises. Have a great weekend everyone!
You're simplistically missing the point if you think this is about feeling sorry for cocaine users. Treating these upcoming problems from levamisole is going to cost EVERYONE money thru our health care system. It even says that in the article. Did you not read?

Another great article STranger, this is turning into a real news-paper, well written and researched.
Rather than distribute test kits, couldn't you save money by just setting up a lab in the back of the Cha Cha and distribute the clean coke directly to the hipsters?
Excellent work, Brendan!
The quality of reporting and activism in The Stranger continues to improve. Congratulations on this well researched and written article and thanks for your efforts.
Never let it be said that the Stranger doesn't know it's audience.
So savageslister, you did a bunch of blow, but it's bad, so no one else should do it (mkay)? hypocrite much? You personally helped make this nation love cocaine, and enabled it's producers. You are partially, but directly responsible for those scars on your husband's legs, for those children murdered for not going to work on plantations. You can't stop others from doing cocaine any more than anyone could've stopped you back then. To get on a soapbox about it now is pedantic, condescending, and offensive.
"The idea of letting addicts die to make drugs scarier is reprehensible."

And yet this was US Gov't policy during Prohibition:

Commenter savageslister's tone may be a bit much but the spirit of the comments are spot on - there are deep costs here...
This is the piece I was always meant to read about this iceberg of a story--not much on the surface, but what lies beneath....

My sincere thanks for your informative and engaging writing, Mr Kiley.

/Steve Chapman
#55 "going to cost EVERYONE money"

Yeah, especially the cartels when sales plummet after all the hipster fuckwits switch back to meth.

Remind me, which am I supposed to empathize with: drug dealers or coke addicts?

I grew up in a time (the 80s) and an area (California) that was positively swimming in cocaine. I tried it once, didn't like it. Nobody put a gun to my head and shoved a straw in my hand and said "Do this line now!"

First rule of 12 Step Programs: personal accountability.
#60 "To get on a soapbox about it now is pedantic, condescending, and offensive."

So if a person ever makes a mistake, they should -- rather than learning from it and perhaps sharing what they learned with others -- never think or speak of it again? Or have they become such completely worthless hypocrites that their only recourse is to kill themselves?

The developed world's consumption of cocaine isn't just destroying Colombia -- it's a major factor behind the violence in Mexico, where tens of thousands of people have died as cartels struggle to control the drug trade. It affects West Africa (Guinea-Bissau in particular), most of Central America, parts of the Caribbean (Haiti's corrupt military is deeply involved in cocaine trafficking), etc. We desperately need to stop doing coke -- or (better yet) legalize it. Fat chance of either, though.
Best Stranger article since that one about the underground Billboard defacers. Also, the presence of levamisole in so much cocaine smacks of institutional support/encouragement. Remember, their are powerful forces who want the war on drugs to continue, just as it is, indefinitely. And the "it gets you really high" theory seems like the winner.
@60 I deeply apologize that I've offended you, it was definitely not my intention. Calling me out as a hypacrite is completely understandable; my hands aren't clean. I'm not saying drugs are bad, I'm saying that now you know. How you continue is up to you, and your decisions affect people.
See, remember things like this everytime you hear some dipshit Libertarian or Republican argue against government regulation of business.

The drug trade is a perfect example of free market capitalism, except imagine if they didn't have to worry about law enforcement at all...

What sort of choices are you making? Smoking, drinking, eating too many potato chips? Driving your car too fast? Fuck your sanctimony.
while this article is somewhat interesting, I'm more worried about what goes into my hamburger than what goes into illegal drugs that most people don't partake of.
I have to say that if this shit was legal and regulated we'd all be better off. Considering that refining coca is not the mechanically different from refining sugar means the drugs would get much cheaper, be quite a bit purer (i've never heard of any de-worming agents in table sugar, have you?), and would allow for fair trade production schemes much like what we see now with sweeteners and caffinated products. Cocaine and indeed all drugs, can and should be ethically produced. Which brings us to anther disgusting vector in this story. Much of the cocaine and poppies produced in the world are bought by pharmaceutical companies for commercial production of prescription medication. Those same companies also make de-worming agents. I can't help but wonder if there's a link there.

Brendon, this is some of the finest journalism I've seen come out of your paper in a long time. Your support for both harm reduction and the thoroughness of your research speak volumes about both your professional integrity and the fullness of your character. Keep up the good work and if you guys need help raising money to produce these kits, let your community know. I would be happy to offer art work and/or performances to help. I worked in harm reduction services at the 1811 Eastlake project and agree that his is by far the best solution. Outstanding job.
I am a former occasional user of coke. I have stopped using it all together due to affordability, the company it keeps and being completely over it. Towards the end of my use I started noticing that it began eating away the skin on the inside and outside of my nose, even if I hadn't used in months. Leaving dry scabbing skin that took weeks to heal, and this would be only after using it one night. Over the years it was not only getting weaker in its effectiveness but also was taking on a particularly gross medicine smell and taste that was much more evident than before. I also began to have strange immediate reactions to it, like fatigue and a general unwell feeling, which as anyone who uses cocaine is the opposite of what it supposed to do, unless you are at the end of a 3 day bender. I had a particularly scary incident happen with a friend where they ended up in the ER after only snorting a small amount of coke and the doctors could not figure out why and had mentioned that they thought something had been added. After reading this article my suspicions that something else was being added or that the quality of coke had gone down over the years now makes sense to me. Also, learning all of the negative political and cultural and effects it has on the people of columbia and other countries. I found that I could not live with myself contributing my hard earned money to be put right back into the hands of drug lords who kill and destroy people and families every day. I guess I am on a bit of a soapbox so I will hop off and just thank Brenden for his informative article and his efforts to bring testing kits into the norm.
Who says the "War on Drugs" isn't working? It's doing _exactly_ what it's supposed to be doing.

See "jake leg".
Savageslister: you provide a very important, first-hand perspective. Taking a step back and looking at the broader picture, though, I'd argue that Colombia's violence has roots even deeper than the drug trade. It has exploded into violence - profound, personal, sadistic kinds of violence - off an on since independence. The violence that exploded during the Bogotazo in 1948 (which is usually used to mark the beginning of the most recent epoch of civil war there) was in many ways a carry-over of the violence that tainted that country 20 years before. Colombia has never really been consolidated into a cohesive nation-state during its entire history. The hatred between different factions is profound and very difficult to even comprehend.

The drug trade has most definitely exacerbated the situation - which might be the understatement of the century - but it certainly wasn't a huge part of the picture when the FARC was formed in the mid-sixties.

Finally - and I know it's hard to believe this when you see stark and appalling poverty right in front of you - Colombia is one of the richer economies in Latin America, which is in turn considered a middle income region by global smarty-pants people who measure these things. It's a damn sight more functional that some other parts of Latin America. Consider Venezuela, for example. But that's hard to care about when you see undernourished children a few houses down on your block. This, I know about.

Otra vez, gracias por tu perspectiva. Espero que vos y tu marido estén bien.
to savagelister, # 40, you state that your husband told you,

"To pass the time from the mindless work, he and his friends would count the dead bodies floating down the river next to the crops, usually bound and tied together. Lots of them kids. In a normal day he counted about 50."

so that would be about 18,000 plus bodies floating down the river per year, eh?? And that was only one little stretch of one river in Columbia, so that scene have been replicated over and over and for years, I guess.... You're completely full of crap or your husband thinks you are a complete idiot who will believe anything.
it's nice to see that some people (73) get it. For others that so desperately need my story to be bullshit, all I can say is that your ignorance is a luxury that your environment has provided you. You are not burdoned by the weight of human suffering caused by cocaine as are the people who live where we live. A tremendously solvable part of the problem is lack of awareness, lack of human connection. I have to believe people would not feel so indifferent if they knew the truth. Sadly my husband told me, as you so eloquently put it, you're an idiot and if you believe that, you'll believe anything.
Great article and great discussion here...congratulations.
@63 - um, no because there's no rule of law and enforcement of contracts, which is very much the Libertarian ideal. Once we can run a class action lawsuit against the cartels for doing this, in a federal court, then we can start talking about free markets.

I've never used cocaine, so I'm really getting a kick out of all these replies.
It was reported DJ AM's official cause of death a year ago in NY was "acute Oxycontin intoxication" but I recall seeing levamisole in list of toxicology report results (along with coke).
Here goes- sorry for the long comment... Is this Seattle or fucking Redmond? Spokane? Bellevue? Seriously- these comments are so ignorant and judgmental that I'm having a hard time believing that this is The Stranger.
Brendan- I heard about this article a while back from a friend who tried to hook us up to talk about it but we never ended up connecting; I am SO glad it wasn't because you didn't do the article. This NEEDS to be talked about.
A very large proportion of Seattle residents do cocaine. Old people, young people, rich people (especially rich people), poor people, soccer moms, homeless people, educated people, your doctor, your mailman, your neighbor, our students (your child's doctor!), your family... You've got to be kidding me with the comments here!
Who the hell are we to dictate or judge what someone else does with their body and mind?
Educate yourselves you fucking idiots! If you prevent illness and disease before it spreads, it costs YOU less money (education is accomplished through fact based teaching- not scary myths about growing hairy palms or refer madness). Everyone does things things that are dangerous... be it doing illegal drugs, living on the down low or riding your bike to work. Give people a fucking option to be as safe as they can be and you're not putting yourself out at all compared to how you will be when the worst case scenario happens.
Maybe you have children, because you never learned about safe sex or you believe that God hates birth control or that condoms are bad- OR maybe you were a young kid that was horny or had no self esteem so you had unprotected sex and got pregnant and NOW you use religion to defend your stupid actions cause you couldn't say no. WE are paying for your children- or at least we will in the future...
It's unbelievable that you live in a supposedly progressive, educated city and so many of you are this selfish and stupid. Go away. Go to Cheney or Spirit Lake or some other red neck town. Let adults make adult choices and give them the tools they need.
You don't see 80 comments here about your magic undies, your 'it doesn't count if it was in the ass' daughters, your drink and beat the wife on saturday but go to church on sunday or any other 'sin' that you judgmental assholes hold others to but excuse yourselves for.
I can NOT believe the people in this city. Equal rights for all! Freedom of choice! Fucking bullshit. Equal rights as long as you can benefit from it. Freedom of choice as long as it fits nicely in your moral high ground. Jesus Fucking Christ. You want to pay less taxes? Want to see less homeless people? Less drug addicts and crazies? Legalize drugs, reduce (or eliminate) sentencing for non-violent crimes, take care of your own fucking families and mentally ill. Drugs are NOT your problem! People do drugs. People do too many drugs who have nobody and nowhere to turn to and nobody who cares enough to tell them to stop. Only when you've done all that you can do- do you have a voice worth listening to. Go fuck yourself. (again- sorry for the looooong comment.)
Out of curiosity I researched who manufactures Levamisole and without exception, all the major manufacturer/exporters are in China-- Yet another reason to question the safety of this cutting agent.
@69... exactly. the irony is that we are worrying how an illegal narcotic is being cut with a potentially harmful agent. talk about having a sadistic death-wish, these engineers are 'legally' creating high-consumption GMO food / drink products that we all indulge in on a daily basis. you can find stuff like MSG, mercury, fluoride, lead, silicone, aspartame, etc. these elements are scientifically proven to be physiologically harmful. the cocaine article was excellent and insightful btw, but our own grocery stores can be scary in their own right. i definitely look forward to more solid articles and writing such as this. thanks.
[...] Tainted Blow [...]
[...] Tainted Blow [...]
It's a great article. I have one criticism. You really shouldn't begin sentences with a conjunction.
@savageslister: I wouldn't touch the stuff for the reasons you mentioned, among others. But let's get one thing straight: if you're going to apply that ethos to this illegal substance, you should apply it across the board to all products you consume.

That means: no domestic produce (explotation and ransoming of migrants... 72 found murdered today on one ranch), no home repairs to electric wiring (African copper mines maim or kill tens of thousands of people every year), and certainly no electronics (Chinese mining of rare earths are deadly). Really, you're forbidden from buying from China... the work conditions are beyond appalling and the exploitation of children is disgusting, happening on a scale that would make your husband spit. Recycled steel from Bangladesh is out if you think Bangladeshis deserve four limbs, so no steel products to be safe.

See how this goes? Enjoy your mountain shack and berry dinners!
Getting de-wormed is the best new euphemism for doing a lot of coke in one night that I've heard in quite awhile - since last weekend.
I'm not a huge follower of cocaine supplies in the US and I don't know if anything has happened between 2005 and now, but by looking at the graph provided you can see two trends. The number of seized cocaine samples goes down and at the same time, correlating closely with that trend, is the fact that the number of samples testing positive for levamisol goes up. Add to that the fact that it is cut before it enters the US and I can make a deduce that levamisol may somehow inhibit the ability of drug dogs to smell the cocaine or something like that. It somehow reduces the risk of smuggling the cocaine into the country. That is my rough statistical analysis of the situation, anyway. Just a hypothesis on my part.
to derptard post #69

Perhaps you should be reading more health conscious blogs related to food safety and healthy diet. Your comment is wholly irrelevant to the subject at hand. Enjoy your feed-lot raised, hormone injected, corn-fed and shite up to the cattle's knees, hamburger. Don't forget that delicious slice of rBGH infused cheese for good measure.
Excellent article and some great comments (savageslister, your comments were some of the best and most eye-opening! Thank you!) but it never ceases to amaze me how stupid and heartless and thoughtless Americans can be! For such an "educated" country, we sure do have a disproportionately large amount of bigots and haters! It saddens me to read some of these callous and hate-fuled comments! I have done speed/meth (never really liked coke, didn't last very long and cost too much!) off and on since high school (thanks Dad, rest in peace), and lately I have had some of the symptoms 71 had mentioned, mainly the scabs just inside my nostrils. I am more than a little worried now, since I have been HIV+ since at LEAST '96, and an AIDS diagnosis in 1998 (say what you will, HATERS, you can't make me think any lower of you than I already do, and I'm sure I deserve AIDS because I'm a fucking faggot, and that's how I got it, because an ex-boyfriend (now dead) of mine cared so much for me that he had unprotected sex with me knowing his status but not telling me! I've been chased, hunted down and beat up by assholes like you, so your hate-filled comments wont hurt me!). I really want to stop, and I am going to make more of an effort now, especially after reading savageslister's insights! I had wondered what was causing the sores and scabs in my nose, and now I think I know. Why wasn't there any mention of meth in this article? Where can I get a kit? More importantly, where can I get non-12 step help (listening to others drone on about their addictions does not help me use less, it makes me want to use more!)? I'll shoot this comment off to your email, Brendan, so you know how to get ahold of me, and thanks again for such a well-executed and informative article! Had I not come across it accidentally (or maybe it wasn't an accident!), I might become one of those statistics! I'm sure I am not the only life you may have saved! Kudos to you and this site for doing what mainstream media has failed in for decades now! Honesty and integrity are not totally dead (just in the conservative republican ass-wipes!).
Reminds me of picking mushrooms in high school and the lawn's home owner yelled, "those have been sprayed" and we laughed and took them anyway.
You do stupid things like take drugs and bad things happen. Drug dealers are not nice people.

I think it's called evolution in action.

People are dying from lack of food and yet there are addicts who want society to spend time and money and energy on saving them from the bad effects of the stuff thy voluntarily choose to shoot, smoke or snort.

Sorry, my energies are used to help people who got into trouble through no fault of their own.

To re-use an old old phrase "Why do you think they call it dope"?
I am a drug and alcohol researcher and I have found this article well-argued, well-balanced and thorough and a fantastic contribution to my knowledge base. Thankyou for showing us the value of good journalism.
@92 your sores and your scabs in your nose could be the result of just snorting shit that you're not supposed to be snorting. Putting shit up your nose destroys blood vessels and causes nosebleeds. Dried blood causes scabs. Haven't you ever seen the episode of the Simpsons where Ralph says "My dad says my nose would stop bleeding if I just stopped putting my finger up there." Well it's not just a joke, it's the truth.
You can always tell when a conservative has snuck into the discussion, e.g. (still) Grrrl or Niemand -- the logic goes out the window:

Poster: "Not taking care of these addicts will cost us money."

Idiot: "Um, it's evolution and I don't feel sorry for them."

Poster: "No seriously, everyone wants lower taxes, right? Let's not let these people get sick and then have to pay for their medical care."

Idiot: "Yeah the cartels will lose money if we don't help these addicts."

Poster: "Non sequitur?"

Idiot: "You are a hipster."
So are the test kits out yet?
This question easy to answer.

Ask the producers why they add the substance. Its not hard to find them, I am in Colombia now, some tour guides in the Santa Marta area offers guided tours of "Cocaine Factories" in the jungle.

Surely a determined researcher could make it out there, or to a Colombian jail to ask the question. Its ludicrous to attempt to solve this in the lab.
@ 99. Kits were out and we ran through them. We're planning to make more and have published the kit recipe online so people with access to labs can make their own.

See the link above: "How to Make a Levamisole Test Kit."
Legalize it, regulate it, and sell them all!, I'll still stick with my weed...
One of the best articles I have read in a LONG time. I wish more people would put as much time and effort into their writing as the author.

Great job and I am now a huge fan.
This article was highly informative and well-researched; it also probably saved my life. So, thank you.

What about test kits for those living in other states?