by Jerry James Stone

According to San Francisco General Hospital, 90-percent of all patients who've tested positive for cocaine use have also tested positive for the animal deworming drug levamisole.

U.S. health officials first warned of the drug in September and the CDC just reported that 69-percent of all cocaine seized in the U.S. is tainted with it. While cocaine is often cut with other drugs to both increase its weight and potency, officials don't know why levamisole is being used.

The drug can cause agranulocytosis, which significantly reduces the number of white blood cells in the body causing fever, swollen glands, and painful sores around the mouth and anus. And women seem to be more affected by levamisole than men are.

"If 90 percent of cocaine users in San Francisco are positive for levamisole and are being exposed to this compound, then why aren't 90 percent of them in the emergency room with these side effects?" asks Kara Lynch, associate chief of the chemistry and toxicology lab at S.F. General.

Oddly enough, San Francisco patients are experiencing a condition that others are not: their skin is turning black! Dr. Jonathan Graf, an assistant professor at S.F. General says their skin appears to be "sloughing" off. He feels that there are other cases of this happening but that people just aren't going to see doctors about it.

It's worth noting that the drug levamisole was found in DJ AM's body along with cocaine, OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Benadryl. The entertainer died of an overdose three months ago.