Besides making you edgy and skittish, with a propensity toward emotional highs and lows, cocaine can also rot your skin, according to a study reported Monday by Time.com.
Researchers found that the illegal drug can contain agents that contribute to low white cell count or dying skin tissue, giving people the appearance of wearing rotting flesh.
The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine after a discovery by doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
It was found that women who had a history of cocaine use also tended to have discolorations on various body parts like their cheeks, buttocks, thighs and earlobes.
Those symptoms are consistent with use of the medication levamisole, which is used by veterinarians for de-worming farm animals.
The medication is also used, however, in the illicit drug industry to "stretch" cocaine, possibly for more profit or a more potent high.
“Almost 80 percent of the cocaine coming into this country has levamisole mixed in,” said Dr. Ghinwa Dumyati, a University of Rochester medical professor.
He noted that the medication can cause an inflammation inside the small blood vessels. “The result can be the death of the epidermis or outer layer of skin,” he said.
The skin condition is treatable but most cases would get better if people simply stopped using cocaine, Dumyati said.