This was partially based on an animal study that found neurotoxicity to dopaminergic neurons after administering the drug to monkeys. However, the study has been retracted by the researchers who conducted it because they had accidentally given methamphetamine instead of MDMA to the animals, given the similar chemical names MDMA stands for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Within three days he began exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
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They tested the substances on rats, but due to rodents' tolerance for this type of neurotoxin nothing was observed. Kidston's parkinsonism was successfully treated with levodopa but he died 18 months later from a cocaine overdose. Upon autopsy, destruction of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra was discovered.
The neurologist J. Eventually the motor symptoms of two of the seven patients were successfully treated at Lund University Hospital in Sweden with neural grafts of fetal tissue. This myth appears to be derived from research in in which serotonin breakdown products were measured in the spinal fluid of ecstasy users. However, it was the researchers , not the drug, who drained the fluid for the purpose of testing. Many ecstasy users describe the potency of various ecstasy pills in terms of their stack such as double stack or triple stack pills. These claims are dubious as there is no way to verify potency objectively without proper testing.
The term "stack" is not intended to measure potency of ecstasy pills, but it is used as a measurement of mass. Single stacks weigh in at 0. Furthermore, a high percentage of what is sold as "ecstasy" may contain a combination of MDMA and one or more other substances or may in fact contain no MDMA at all. For these reasons, the "stack" system of strength description is not necessarily trustworthy—as is commonly the case in the underground drug market. Though initially there were not very many urban legends about methamphetamine "crank", "crystal meth," "ice" , the "meth epidemic" of the late s and early s especially in the USA led to quite a few new legends.
The legend states that the drug, once inhaled, will re-crystallize in large amounts inside the lungs, damaging them in the process. This is a false claim as crystallized methamphetamine is always in the form of a salt usually methamphetamine hydrochloride , which is highly soluble in water, as well as hydrophilic, and is instantly absorbed into the user's blood stream via the alveoli.
However, intravenous methylphenidate Ritalin use results in a type of lung damage commonly known as Ritalin lung. The tablets contain talc and other particulates which can deposit in the lung talcosis and result in severe emphysema affecting all the lobes of the lung. Another meth legend is that dealers are selling colored and flavored meth resembling candy often with names like Strawberry Quick , originating from an idea that dealers would mix the drug with strawberry-flavored Nesquik to entice children to buy it. It was first reported in in the western United States, and children were allegedly ingesting it thinking it was candy, and ending up in the ER.
Cotton fever is a high fever supposedly caused by injecting cotton fibers into the blood stream when shooting up heroin. Cotton is sometimes used as a crude filter for particulate matter prior to IV injection. Other commonly blamed substances include fiberglass if a cigarette filter was used cigarette filters do not contain fiberglass , or dirt if Mexican heroin was injected. In reality, the particulate matter causing cotton fever is bacteria from lack of sterile technique. Most cases of cotton fever resolve as the body clears the infection.
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Users will often seek medical attention when cotton fever persists. Persistent cotton fever is often infective endocarditis. Although endotoxin shed by the bacteria Enterobacter agglomerans , which colonizes cotton plants, has been implicated as the cause of cotton fever,  most clinical cases demonstrate blood cultures positive for skin and fecal bacteria. It is generally reported to be a mixture of heroin and Tylenol PM an OTC acetaminophen and diphenhydramine combination or its generic equivalent, in varying ratios. It seems likely that the concept was originally created as a joke, and after seizures of low purity heroin cut with paracetamol acetaminophen "validated" the claims, the DEA issued a warning.
However, there may have been some ostension of this legend in involving a few individuals in Texas. A commonly held misconception is that phencyclidine PCP, angel dust is the same as or is synthesized from embalming fluid. Some people, believing this myth, have actually attempted to smoke cigarettes or cannabis dipped in real embalming fluid i.
Conversely, some users of PCP-laced cannabis believe and are often told that it contains embalming fluid proper and not PCP, or that the slang term "dust" really means embalming fluid proper.
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Sometimes, the two substances are even mixed together, in a further ostension of this legend. The Rodney King police beating case in Los Angeles was a source of much controversy and outrage, as well as urban legends. Because King resisted arrest, with several officers needed to subdue him, he was assumed to be on PCP at the time since the drug is notorious for inciting violent and unpredictable behavior coupled with an inability to feel pain often misinterpreted as "superhuman" strength.
However, toxicology results show that the only drugs found in his system were alcohol and traces of marijuana. One legend holds that a man who, while under the influence of the drug, thoroughly sliced off pieces of his own face, including his eyes, to feed to his pet dogs. Some versions of this tale say he suffered permanent brain damage as well.
This legend is remarkably similar to what the character Mason Verger did in Thomas Harris ' novel Hannibal. The legend, however, dates back earlier than , and can be traced to former New York homicide detective Vernon J. Geberth , who writes about it in his book Practical Homicide Investigation. According to Geberth, this actually did occur to a man named Michael, and that Geberth was one of the detectives called to the scene. Joseph Sacco  also mentions this story, albeit with a few differences in the details.
Some reports cite a widely held belief that PCP can give its users "superhuman" strength for the duration of its effects,  and there are several anecdotes alleging this phenomenon. However, it does not typically make the user significantly stronger in reality than they otherwise would be. The exception is when a user experiences excited delirium , a severe and life-threatening reaction that occasionally results from use of PCP as well as various stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines. Excited delirium has also been reported to occur without any drug use, and the increased strength that results is most likely caused by a massive increase in adrenaline.
One legend that is popular among both the drug and video gaming subcultures is that the mushroom powerup in Super Mario games is actually based on psilocybin mushrooms. However, there is no evidence to back up that claim. According to Shigeru Miyamoto , the creator of the Super Mario series, it was inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland , a story in which eating specific mushrooms cause one to change size. In fact, Miyamoto decided to call it a "Super Mushroom" instead of a "Magic Mushroom" in part to avoid the likely association with the psychedelic variety, which often goes by the latter nickname.
There have been reports of "krokodil"—according to media reports, a street name for desomorphine , a semi-synthetic opioid which has similar strength and narcotic effect to heroin diacetylmorphine -- appearing with increasing frequency in Russia and supposedly, more recently, in the United States. Reports of the drug's appearance and of the severe skin infections apparently originated in Russia ten years prior to recent appearances in the Phoenix, AZ area of the United States, in the fall of It was also reported in Joliet, Illinois and McHenry, Illinois in October , but no laboratory tests have confirmed that desomorphine was present in the blood, urine or tissues of hospitalized krokodil patients.
On the contrary, an October 17, article in the Lawton Constitution quoted the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics as saying that reports of krokodil use on the Internet should be "taken with a grain of salt. In Illinois, heroin is known to be extremely cheap and unusually pure, making it unlikely that a drug user would make or purchase krokodil. Further, krokodil is a liquid, while heroin is a powder, and drug users would not be likely to confuse one with the other. In the linkedin.
The group believes that the symptoms displayed by krokodil users in the United States are due to a bacterial infection such as necrotizing faciitis, a "flesh eating" disorder that is spread through the sharing of dirty hypodermic needles. This and the fact that krokodil has never been identified anywhere in the world other than Russia bolster the contention that this drug is not in the US. However, the increasing popularity of krokodil is likely related to the ability of lay persons with little or no chemistry training or equipment to chemically produce a heroin-like opiate drug, at home, using readily available solvents and internet-obtained 'recipes' which are posted on drug forums and chat rooms.
By using the available, though dangerously unreliable, instructions, users are converting the much cheaper and easier-to-obtain drug codeine, which is often available over-the-counter or with an easily obtained prescription, into desomorphine, a much stronger opiate. With the street price for heroin or oxycodone much higher than the cost of the codeine and chemicals, users manufacture krokodil for a cheaper, comparable high.
However, lacking proper equipment, training, and testing equipment, users are extremely unlikely to produce desomorphine in a pure form at home, and as a result end up injecting a highly impure mixture of codeine, desomorphine, and the toxic chemicals used in the crude reaction such as lye or acetone. While studies are as yet unavailable of various samples of krokodil seized in different regions, it is likely that the drug is in fact not a single chemical, recipe, or 'designer' drug, but rather the medical symptoms caused by the injection of toxic chemical used in a variety of 'home-bake' drug synthesis methods, although traditionally such processes are used by methamphetamine home producers.
While there have been no detailed studies of desomorphine in its pure form publicly available, it is highly likely that it is not causing the severe inflammation, necrosis, and flesh-eating symptoms of krokodil. Such damages are much more likely to be related to the toxic chemicals used in the crude at-home synthesis than to desomorphine itself. There is no indication that desomorphine - one of hundreds of known opioids which differ primarily in strength and duration of action - has any unique 'qualities' which would make it desirable to opiate users in its pure form, nor that in pure form desomorphine would cause the symptoms associated with krokodil.
More research is needed to fully define whether krokodil is a drug or a collection of symptoms associated with injecting toxic chemical by-products of home drug chemistry, but since desomorphine is one of hundreds of known opiates in a chemical family with no association to the symptoms, it is much more likely that the drug is a set of symptoms associated with the injection of household chemicals, rather than a specific drug itself. A comparison could be made to the effects of methanol poisoning from illicitly produced alcohol during the U.
Methanol was sometimes added to the distillate to enhance profits. There are many home-based drug 'recipes' which could, and likely do, result in users injecting highly impure, dangerous, and toxic chemicals, causing krokodil symptoms. Although drawing attention to the dangers of trying to produce or alter drugs using kitchen chemistry and internet 'recipes' is important and valuable, that krokodil is a single drug is unproven and highly unlikely.
The advent of novel illegal or quasi-legal designer drugs intended as substitutes or alternatives to illegal drugs has given rise to several new legends as well. In , various drugs nicknamed " bath salts " were implicated in several violent attacks, including a few cases of cannibalism.
In addition to legends about specific drugs, there are also some more generic ones that are often applied to several types of drugs. This legend, dating back to the early s and first appearing on the Internet in , claims that drug traffickers are smuggling illegal drugs typically cocaine in hollowed-out dead babies to avoid detection. However, according to U. Customs and other law enforcement agencies, there are no verifiable reports of this ever happening, and thus this myth is unfounded.
This legend, which surfaced on the Internet just in time for Halloween in October , claimed that drug dealers were giving lollipops laced with drugs, typically a combination of THC and PCP, to unsuspecting children and causing them great harm. Such suckers are allegedly referred to as "dro pops" or something to that effect, and various towns around the country have had their own versions of the legend. They also report that in and some psilocybin mushroom chocolate candies were seized near Amarillo, Texas,  and that hollowed-out lollipops filled with heroin have been seized in New York City.
There is no evidence that these were ever given to children, much less that any such children were harmed, or even that such lollipops have been found outside of these specific locations or anywhere since early Related to the above legend, various drugs have also found their way into the more general and perennial Halloween poisoning legends.
Allegedly, unsuspecting trick-or-treaters are given candy or sometimes fruits laced with poisons, needles, razor blades, and drugs by strangers. However, virtually all reports of this happening are now known to be either hoaxes, events unrelated to Halloween candy, or non-random poisonings by relatives made to look random. Baca even went so far as to confiscate cannabis edibles from circulation in an attempt to prevent this from happening, and displayed them on television two days before Halloween. Again, there is no evidence that cannabis-laced treats were ever given out to trick-or-treaters in or in any other year.
They sleep off the drug's effects, and the next morning they find out that the "gnome" was really a lost and very frightened child. Though the story may be told by some tellers in a negative light, it may also have a positive spin in that the teens become unwitting heroes in finding a missing child whose parents as well as the police had been unable to find. In —, an Internet rumor was going around that said that LSD and other drugs were being diluted with water to extremely low concentrations, which allegedly made the drugs more powerful, yet cheaper and undetectable.
However, there is no evidence that this actually has effects different from a placebo, or that a significant number of users or dealers were ever actually doing this. The increasingly common practice of drug testing , especially urinalysis, has led to an increase in the number of drug users looking for ways to beat the tests, and has spawned a number of urban legends as a result.
One should note that time is the only scientifically proven method for certainly passing a test, apart from not consuming any substances at all that are likely to be tested for. This legend is technically true but highly misleading. According to a U. Army study, the amount of secondhand cannabis smoke needed to cause a false positive result failure is quite large indeed, and would require being sealed in an unventilated car or small room filled with marijuana being actively smoked for several hours often referred to as a "hotbox".
With regards to cannabis, however, typically only metabolites produced by the body and thus not found in smoke are tested rather than THC, so failure is unlikely to result from non-extreme passive exposure. While some Internet and other sources claim that this works wonders, there is no supporting scientific evidence. This legend may have been inadvertently inspired by Narconon , a Scientology -based drug rehabilitation program that uses exercise, saunas, and dangerously high doses of niacin and other vitamins to detox.
It is also part of L. Ron Hubbard's general Purification Rundown , which can supposedly remove pollutants as well as drug residues. Although some drug users claim that this has worked,  there are currently no peer-reviewed scientific studies to back these methods up. This partially true, but exaggerated, legend has been featured in several movies and television shows, such as Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory. Poppy seed-filled pastries such as hamantashen or kolaches , contain enough opiates to potentially cause a false positive test result, even when a fairly high cutoff level is used.
However, drug tests rarely screen for the actual drug used; instead they detect metabolites or increased enzyme levels as markers indicative of drug use. When substance use has been established and the drug type, i. An episode of MythBusters tested this legend and found that as little as three poppy-seed bagels was enough to cause a positive result for the remainder of the day they were eaten though participants tested clean the following day. Despite these measures, false positives do still occur, such as in the case of a mother whose newborn baby was taken into care for five days after she tested positive for opiates because of an "everything" bagel from Dunkin' Donuts.
In addition, poppy seed consumption does not serve as a defense for heroin consumption. This is because a unique metabolite 6-monoacetylmorphine is produced from heroin use that is never produced from consuming any other substance, even other opiates like the ones present in poppy seeds. Modern tests can thus readily determine whether it was heroin or some other opiate that was ingested, should someone who had used heroin try to claim he or she merely ate poppy seeds.
It is widely believed that there is no way to distinguish between poppy seeds and any other kind of opiate. However, a study published by the University of Connecticut 's Department of Chemistry proposed that thebaine could be used as a marker of poppy seed consumption. They also tested street heroin, one morphine tablet and one codeine tablet. Thebaine was not detected in any of the tested powdered drugs street heroin, morphine tablet, codeine tablet or the urine of the heroin users.
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