Two men who purchased what they thought was a recreational drug were poisoned by the product, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. It is not known whether the company selling the product deliberately substituted ingredients or made a packaging error.
“This case highlights the danger to the public and the challenges facing public health agencies in an era in which virtually any chemical produced in any country is available through Internet sales,” the CDC noted in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “Purchase of chemicals from unregulated Internet sources poses a serious risk to purchasers from product contamination and substitution.”
The Oregon men were poisoned and turned blue after using the drug, which they believed was the designer amphetamine derivative 2C-E. The product they received was aniline, a highly toxic industrial chemical, HealthDay reports. The drug was advertised as a “research chemical,” which carried a warning label that it is not for human consumption. One of the men said he bought the drug from the Internet site of a Chinese chemical company.
After taking the drug, the men’s skin turned blue from lack of oxygen in their blood. One of the men lost consciousness. Health officials were able to quickly identify the chemical and provide treatment.
People reporting emergencies involving ingested substances purchased from the Internet should telephone the Food and Drug Administration at its 24-hour, toll-free number (1-888-INFO-FDA).