Warning over 'very toxic' chemical in Guernsey cocaine

Guernsey's Health and Social Services Department has issued a warning about the danger of a toxic chemical found locally in cocaine.

The department said levamisole had been detected in recent samples of the drug.

It said that some people who ingested the chemical developed agranulocytosis, a potentially fatal condition that harms the immune system.

Dr Roland Archer, the States analyst, said: "This is the first time that it has been detected in Guernsey."

He said: "Once levamisole has been added to cocaine, it is nearly impossible to remove it and it even survives processing of cocaine into 'crack'."

New equipment costing £80,000 has enabled the department to examine drugs at a molecular level.

A gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, recently purchased by the department, helped find the substance.

Dr Archer said: "It gives us a lot more confidence when presenting the data on controlled drugs."

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