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Cocaine Is Reportedly Being Cut with a Painkiller That Increases Your Risk of Bladder Cancer

A new study has found that 65 percent of cocaine is cut with phenacetin.
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Looks like our old friend levamisole is back in the news, but now he's got a friend. The livestock dewormer – which is also used as a cocaine cutting agent – has been periodically featured in the media over the past couple of years, semi-erroneously linked to the rotting of people's faces. I say "semi", because while levamisole technically can induce a skin disease, cases are incredibly rare, and you'd have to do a ludicrous amount of gak to ingest enough levamisole for it to have any real effect.


The new dodgy chemical on the block is phenacetin, which reportedly gives users an increased risk of bladder cancer. A study has revealed that the painkiller is the most common cutting agent found in "street cocaine" (is there another type of cocaine than street cocaine? answers in an email please), and another study found that people abusing phenacetin were four times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-users.

The study, from, said that 65 percent of cocaine is cut with phenacetin, but didn't specify what percentage of each gram was found to actually be the cancer-causing substance. The average concentration of levamisole in a wrap is between 1.5 to five percent, and the average purity of a gram of cocaine is reportedly around 52 percent – so make of that what you will.

More from VICE:

Everything You Need to Know About the Cocaine 'Cut' That Supposedly Rots Your Skin

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Killer Coke Explained