Nearly half of all cocaine users are testing positive for a potentially fatal chemical caused by mixing the drug with alcohol.
Cocaethylene, a heart attack-inducing chemical formed in the liver when cocaine and alcohol are mixed, is present in 45% of users, according to new research. Hair tests conducted on 1,728 volunteers nationwide revealed the extent of the danger posed by the chemical, which is thought to be responsible for a rise in heart attacks among under-40s.
Hair tests provide "very accurate readings of when and how much cocaine or alcohol has been consumed, and the levels of cocaethylene being formed in the body", according to Avi Lasarow, of Trimega Laboratories, which carried out the research.
December 13, 2009