Lead-Tainted Marijuana Poisons Users

But even when faced with a bad reaction, drug users don't always seek out medical help.

"People on marijuana only rarely go to an emergency department," said Dr. Richard O'Brien, spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Typically those who get into medical trouble or suffer trauma under the influence who are using street drugs are using cocaine or heroin or meth; we also see rare GHB [date rape drug] abuse."

Smoke, Snort at Your Own Risk

Of course, most who are willing to use illicit drugs may have already come to terms with the calculated risk of their chemical exploits. But as O'Brien points out, drug users should at least be fully aware of the health risks they are taking.

"Street drugs are not pure, nor can they be assumed safe, in any manner or form," he said. "Using illegal drugs is risking your life."

Smith agrees.

"Adverse -- and potentially fatal -- reactions to many of these drugs are thought to result from poor manufacturing, rather than face-value overdoses," she said. "The user goes on faith that a less expensive, chemical cousin with greater risk has not been substituted, nor does the tablet contain more than thought."

"Use of illicit drugs is then, in a sense, a bit like Russian roulette."

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