• Thirty-one samples of street heroin were analyzed bacteriologically and chemically as to their microbial burden and chemical adulterants (fillers). Sixty-one percent of the samples were positive for microbial growth. Many species were isolated from the positive samples with Bacillus sp (79%) and Aspergillus sp (10%) predominating. The level of contamination ranged from 1.6 ×102 to 3.7 × 104 organisms per gram. We obtained cultures from 16 addicts from the Chicago area and 21 from the New Orleans area who had soft-tissue infections related to their habit. Infections in this group of patients were usually polymicrobial; however, there was no correlation between the organisms recovered from street heroin and the addicts' infections. Most drug-related infections appear to be related to the addicts' own oral and dermal microflora. No correlation was observed between the chemical fillers and the bacteria recovered from the heroin.
(Arch Surg 1983;118:746-749)
Moustoukas NM, Nichols RL, Smith JW, Garey RE, Egan RR. Contaminated Street Heroin: Relationship to Clinical Infections. Arch Surg. 1983;118(6):746–749. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1983.01390060064014
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: