The Crazy Shit They Put in Coke
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The Crazy Shit They Put in Coke


By the time I was done reading the piece on Vice about all the crap they pad cocaine with, it occurred to me that there’s probably nothing more dangerous and damaging that’s in cocaine than the actual drug. I mean, is a drug like Levamisole worse than a drug that can make you want to blow your brains out? Well, let’s find out.

Yes, Your Cocaine Has a History

Kim Gosmer, a chemist who specialized in cocaine research while at the Section for Toxicology and Drug Analysis (Department of Forensic Medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark), does an amazing job of breaking down the multi-level process of how coke gets from the farms of Bolivia to that baggie in your basement apartment. And just so you can see how in the know I am about what goes down on the streets (aka how good I am at Googling), throughout this article I am going to use as many street names for cocaine as possible.

According to Gosmer, once extracted from the coca leaf, Foo-Foo Dust is mixed with gasoline and cement (yum), oxidized with potassium permanganate, combined with hydrochloric acid and then it’s shipped to wherever. Yikes! But what was really surprising to find out was that once Double Bubble get to the States, it’s then cut countless more times with weird stuff like sugar, Creatine, caffeine, Lidocaine and Benzocaine—none of which are the infamous “baby laxatives” we’ve all heard so much about. Has this been an urban legend? My bathroom doesn’t think so.

This May Fall on Deaf Ears (and Noses)

As fascinating as this article was, I kept asking myself; who is this for? What demographic is this information geared towards? I used Studio Fuel for years without giving an eight ball of a shit what was in it. And I am pretty sure that no street-buying drug consumer wants to think about the fact that 73% of all California Cornflake seized by the DEA has been cut with Levamisole, a drug used to de-worm cattle. Of course, that might just be my outdated 90’s attitude. In a world swollen with veganism, paleo diets and locavorians, I really have no idea what kind of research the kids these days do on their drugs. For all I know, it’s totally hip to drink handcrafted beer and test bags of nose candy (that’s what my mom calls it) for purity.

My devil-may-care outlook on partying might also have to do with the fact that I am from Boston, where it’s perfectly normal to throw back a 30-pack, snort lines until 5 am and then be at your construction job—Dunkies in hand—ready to work by 6. Salt of the earth East Coasters don’t have time to worry about silly things like adulterants or other chemical “chicanery,” which is what this article addresses.

Read the Fine Print!

But apparently, Levamisole is no joke. If ingested enough (which according to Gosmer is only achieved by the more-than-average Stardust user), it can cause agranulocytosis, “a chemical form of AIDS” where your white blood cell count is so low that a paper cut can become life threatening. This is the kind of information that, before I got sober, would make me want to do a lot of Blanca.

I’m grateful that sobriety has given me the freedom to not have to worry about certain things like drinking and driving—or the effects of Levamisole. But if you’re still out there, or know someone who is, just know that Pimp is even worse for you than you may have thought.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.