Recently, I was wondering if it would be safe to eat someone who had died of a heroin overdose. Could you stock a restaurant that way? Would the meat get your patrons high? That’s how I discovered this weird case of an illicit drug cocktail being distributed via a syringe of human blood (from Popular Science):
Last summer, police in Bucks County, Pennsylvania picked up a man carrying an unmarked vial of red liquid. During questioning, the 33-year-old explained that the vial contained human blood and fentanyl, a painkiller 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The liquid’s street name: “BLOOD.” (All-caps is apparently the going style for the substance’s street name, but we’ll stick to “Blood” from this point forward because frankly, using BLOOD over and over again makes this article look like it was written by the Count from “Sesame Street”.)
Officers sent the vial, which contained about a half a teaspoon of red fluid, to forensic toxicologist Laura Labay.
“It was the strangest thing,” she told PopSci. “If you look at whole blood in a test tube, it’s thick. This looked like blood but it was more watery.” Some sort of fine powder swirled around inside it, and it smelled like cough syrup.
In her laboratory at NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, Labay confirmed that the specimen did indeed contain human blood. But it also carried a lot more than fentanyl.
Lab tests detected 13 different substances in the “Blood”, including residues of ethanol, codeine, ephedrine, THC, and 11 milligrams of of methamphetamine—a full dose. The results were recently published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
When drug users shoot up, a bit of blood sometimes backtracks into the syringe. Labay and her colleagues have noticed that sometimes users will let their blood spill into the barrel, then give the needle to another user to sample (or “taste”) the drug. But this is the first time they’ve heard of anything quite like this, where it appears the drug-impregnated blood was distributed for later injection.
Because most of the drugs were present at levels lower than a typical dose, and because the blood contained metabolites that are left over after a body starts to break down these drugs, Labay thinks the “Blood” came from someone who had previously used pseudoephedrine and heroin.
“Somebody must have taken blood out of somebody and purposely added methamphetamine in it,” she says. “You can’t just be walking around with that much methamphetamine in your blood and be ok.”
Labay and her co-author can’t say for sure why someone would want to take drugs this way. It’s possible that the cocktail of other drugs was meant to heighten the effects of the methamphetamine. Or maybe some people just like the exoticness of consuming human blood. The dangers of doing so should be relatively obvious.
[Read More at Popular Science]
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