Cocaine users are at risk of "lose their noses"

In France, about 600,000 people regularly use cocaine, a drug that comes in the form of a white powder and is known to powerfully stimulate the central nervous system. According to the French Observatory of Drugs and Addictive Tendencies (OFDT), cocaine constitutes “the most consumed illicit product in France after cannabis“, in particular among French people aged 18 to 34.

Questioned by our British colleagues from the BBC, experts from the National Health Service in the Lanarkshire region (south of Glasgow) are sounding the alarm: in recent years, the number of patients treated for lesions in the nose, ears and throat due to their cocaine consumption was multiplied by 3.

Lesions in the nose, ears and throat

When inhaled (“snorted”), cocaine causes a very strong contraction of blood vessels; however, the nasal septum is very sensitive to reduced blood flow, explain the doctors. After using cocaine several times, the nasal structure may begin to die, causing perforations.“Once the tissues that make up the nose are perforated and/or necrotic, it is necessary to proceed with reconstructive surgery… or the placement of a prosthesis.

Furthermore, the cocaine is often mixed with other substances, decidedly harmful for the nose, ears and throat: levamisole (a drug “used in deworming tablets for dogs and cats“), phenacetin (“A pain medication and anti-fever used in veterinary medicine“) or acids.

According to the OFDT, “the proportion of 18-64 year olds who have tried cocaine has quadrupled in two decades (from 1.2% in 1995 to 5.6% in 2017)“.

Source : BBC

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