Using Drugs Could Do Worse Than End Your Life
A recent report by Russell R. Russo, MD, at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, identified a new source of life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis – the use of bath salts. WebMd defines Necrotizing Fasciitis as a dangerous infection of soft-tissue which starts in the subcutaneous tissue (just below the skin) and spreads along the flat layers of fibrous tissue that separate different layers of tissue (fascial planes). A study which describes the first known case of necrotizing fasciitis from an injection of the street drug “bath salts,” is published in the January 2012 issue of Orthopedics, which is now available on-line.
Dr. Russo and his colleagues treated a 34-year-old woman who was admitted with forearm pain and redness that began after she attended a party. She did not report other symptoms, but there was also a small red puncture wound on her arm. Treatment for cellulitis using broad-spectrum IV antibiotics dramatically reduced the symptoms, but lingering pain at the injection site led to an ultrasound.
The woman then admitted she had injected “bath salts” two days before she developed symptoms. Upon re-examination, the patient had rapidly progressing redness, skin sloughing, and drainage. Necrotizing fasciitis was suspected and she immediately underwent emergency surgery and more antibiotics were given. The infection moved so fast that pink, healthy tissue was literally dying before the surgeons’ eyes. They had to keep removing tissue until they reached clear margins of healthy tissue to stop the progression of disease. By the time they were finished, the patient’s arm, shoulder, and collarbone were amputated and a radical mastectomy (the most extreme type of mastectomy) performed. The patient survived and subsequently underwent skin grafting and rehabilitation.
When a person is confronted with life situations, which they cannot handle, this may result in substance abuse. Abusing drugs and experimenting with drugs can have devastating consequences. Substance abuse shouldn’t result in losing body parts, or even worse one’s life—but it sometimes does.
If you have a loved one suffering from substance abuse, get them help immediately. Call one of our substance abuse counselors. Our drug rehabilitation program is one of the best in the nation.
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