Friday, July 25, 2008

Another drug-related death

Another drug-related death of a young man (in his 20s) this week (not to mention the gentleman in his 50s or the woman in her 30s, they are no less tragic and they also died drug-related deaths this week)

He died of heroin intoxication, abuse, over-use. What also stood out with this young man is that when we tested several items from his room for drug residue we came up with results that beg action or reaction. We found a dollar bill with heroin residue, cocaine residue on his dresser, cocaine and THC residue on a small scale in his room, and a part of a jeweler’s screwdriver with THC residue.

Youthful experimenting? To me it screams the need to get honest information repetitively out to the public (how do you get it to the youth of our community?). Among other important bits of information, that the heroin on our streets right now is potent and particularly deadly. We must develop and push prevention; we must develop and push treatment.

It will be work, hard work, but aren’t these folks worth it?


Anonymous said...

Dr. Keller -
We all just need to band together, we can do this - we can stop this madness - these are the children of our future.

They are worth every breath they take!

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Keller
On 22/10/2005 my brother was found unconsience in his room. He was hospitilized 14:00 and was pronounced dead 17:15. The Post mortem was found to be PULMONARY EMBOLISM FOLLOWING OVERDOSE OF MORPHINE AND COCAINE. A toxic was done and the following was found - Amitriptylline - 0.08micorgram per ml of blood, Caffiene in the blood, Cocaine, Codeine, Morphine, Bensylecgonine and paracetamol in the urine. No external injuries was found on his body. He also had a Secondary haemorrage in the midbrain. Pleura dn lungs - both lungs congested with saddle thrombus in the pulmonary artery. Mediastinum and oesaphagus, trachea and bronchi, intestines and mesentry, pancreas, Liver, Galbladder and biliary passages, spleen, Kidneys was all congested. Would this all be from one substance he took or several, could it have been suicide? What does congested mean? I would realy appreciate your opinion.
Regards from South Africa

Dr. Richard Keller said...

The congestion referred to is vascular congestion likely related to decreased cardiac output (heart pumping action) and/or increased venous stasis (with dilated blood vessels) due to the cardiovascular effects of the drugs. The cocaine directly can cause a midbrain bleed.

That vascular congestion also contributes to the formation of clots (thrombi) that can travel to the lugs resulting in death.

The 2 primary substances in this intoxication are cocaine (its metabolite benzylecgonine) and “morphine”. The source of the “morphine” might be heroin or any number of opiates that metabolize to morphine in the body (with codeine as a co-metabolite, co-ingestion, or as the source of the morphine).

Suicides using illicit drugs is fairly rare, most of these deaths are “accidents” related to drug use and abuse.