Tainted cocaine found in Alberta and B.C. is also likely to be in this province leading Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer to warn health care workers, addictions counsellors and cocaine users.
Health care professionals in Saskatchewan who work with drug users and have knowledge of drug trafficking patterns in the province have said it is likely this cocaine has made its way east to Saskatchewan, said Dr. Moira McKinnon.
Levasimole, an antibiotic to treat worm infestations in animals, has been added to powdered cocaine in Alberta and B.C. It suppresses one's immune system allowing minor infections to become potentially deadly. At least 10 residents of British Columbia and seven residents of Alberta have gotten sick because of this combination.
No cases have been reported in Saskatchewan, but McKinnon said anyone who uses cocaine by injecting it or inhaling it needs to be aware.
"We know there is considerable use of cocaine in the province," said McKinnon.
Communities doing well economically are where RCMP officers tend to see higher drug use rates meaning those areas are where this cocaine could show up in Saskatchewan, said Sgt. Carole Raymond, RCMP spokeswoman for the province.
Anyone who has used cocaine and experienced continuing fever or chills, sore throat, swollen glands, a white coating of the mouth, tongue or throat, skin infections, sores around one's mouth or anus or pneumonia should seek "immediate medical attention."
Discussing one's drug use is a matter that remains between a patient and one's physician, said McKinnon.
Finding the source of the contaminated drug would be difficult. Since this was first detected in Alberta and B.C., Raymond said it is likely it originated in Canada in one of those provinces.
Author: Karen Brownlee
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Dec 2008
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)