If you looked at a product label and it included ingredients like feces, or poison would you readily ingest it? Well, if you decide to use illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or even marijuana some nasty and toxic stuff can get into your body. Unlike the FDA approved products with the labels that require professionals to wear white coats, hair nets and be produced in sanitary environments, street drugs have no such origins. As for the manufacturing sites I saw as a drug agent, two words: hell hole. Here are 5 nasty facts (designed to be sobering) about the behind the scene handling of drugs that you may have never thought about.

Sobering Fact #1: How do the feces and other biological matter get in there? A common means of smuggling into the United States is for mules to swallow condoms or balloons filled with drugs. Once inside the country the drugs are pooped out – there you go “a load of crap”. And trust me, those whose job it is to separate the drugs from the container are most concerned about getting the entire product out above anything else. Easiest way to do that? Cut the latex container meaning some of the exterior where the fecal and bodily fluid traces are may touch the drugs while being extracted. As the drugs continue their downward distribution they may be stored temporary in someone’s mouth (hiding place from police) - or even take the rectum route yet again stashed by a street runner (twice baked?). Yuck, oh well, now you know how crap gets into a drug.

Sobering Fact #2: How do things like rust, lead, mold or other toxic materials get in there? Drug traffickers use a variety of conveyances in a subversive way to smuggle drugs in and then across country once here. Some of the cargo drums themselves which may have previously been used to transport other things like gasoline or dirty machinery can contaminate smuggled drugs. In other cases, the items used as concealment are directly in contact with the drugs. These are things that should never be commingled with products to be consumed such as furniture, pipes, statutes, tires, shoes, trailer hitches, etc. Then once in this country, rogue truckers typically use whatever they are hauling legitimately like oily machine parts as cover to the hide drugs. You name it and enterprising dealers have probably tried it.

Sobering Fact #3: How does stuff like baby laxatives, quinine, boric acid or even rat poisoning get in there? Well, drug traffickers at all levels want to make as much money as possible so they are constantly seeking ways of stretching the product and adding stuff to enhance a buzz. And if a drug manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer can represent his product as purer than it really is, he can make top dollar. How is this done? Remix the dope and compress it so it’s hard and crusty looking just like the stuff right off the boat. Too bad, these “brilliant” people don’t use their talents for good instead of destruction.

Sobering Fact #4: How does the most lethal stuff get in there? Through the various processes that takes place. Methamphetamine straight up is a concoction of harmful substances like red phosphorus, iodine, ammonia and lithium mixed with cold medicine. But even cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy can contain hazardous materials. Every drug entrepreneur that touches the drug ultimately consumed expands it in some way, even if its just repackaging, so more money can be made. And that’s a lot of touching. Let see: there’s the lab (I’m using the term loosely) in places like South America if its cocaine that extracts the coca from the plant, and converts it to paste; there’s the processing to powder or whatever form it will take when smuggled (i.e. liquid form that may be saturated in clothing like blue jeans that have to be extracted on the other end – come on, you know some of the jean die ends up in the final product); and there’s additional cutting with any number of substances as it trickles down the wholesale and retail chains. For example, several drug deaths occurring from 2005-2006 were traced to heroin laced with fentanyl (a powerfully strong opiate). Even when it is discovered there's a bad batch on the street, no lot numbers exist for a recall. Oh and most of those handling the drugs are not wearing gloves and when they do it is for their own protection, not some silly reason like reducing cross contamination – yeah there’s probably some dirt in there too.

Sobering Fact #5: How did that finger get into the chili? Somebody put it there, accidentally or on purpose. The pots, pans, glassware, buckets and other instruments used to make one drug by a given drug organization is often used to make another drug. So sometimes the reason that ecstasy has trace amounts of meth is simply manufacture or reformation using common equipment. Or the reason marijuana leaves have trace amounts of powdered drugs is because of transference when plants are cut with the same knife. At other times, the answer is more sinister based on greed. When there’s “chocolate that got onto my peanut butter”, it’s probably an attempt to get one to love and crave something new. Sometimes traffickers intentionally mix or substitute one drug with another more tempting like meth for cocaine to create a new and more lucrative market. To them it comes down to dollars, if they can get you hooked on something that will make you come back more frequently, it’s more profit.

Consuming crap is just plain nasty and can even be deadly. Drug traffickers’ apparent lack of quality control is not usually deliberately meant to be repulsive, harmful or even to cause death. On the contrary, they want customers coming back for more. To dealers, it’s “just business”. Just thought you should know what’s really being pushed since no one wants to consciously consume anything that got pulled out a pile of crap. To those of you who have never used an illegal drug I say don’t try it, you might like it and get to a point where you may no longer care about where the crap came from.

Author's Bio: 

DEA Special Agent in Charge (retired) June Werdlow Rogers (formerly June W. Stansbury) holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and Criminology earned at the University of Maryland. She has 28 years of law enforcement experience from 3 different agencies including the Detroit Police Department and Central Michigan University’s Department of Public Safety.

Dr. Werdlow Rogers is the Author of Becoming Ethically Marketable: A Guide for Criminal Justice Majors and Recruits (available from www.staggspublishing.com). She also was a contributing author in the book Police Psychology into the 21st Century (Kurke and Scrivner) writing chapter 11 on Counseling and Diversity Issues (available through www.amazon.com). Dr. Werdlow Rogers recently completed a manuscript on the topic of women and leadership pending publication in 2010 by a prominent publisher. Other articles written by Dr. Werdlow Rogers may be accessed at www.opednews.com. Dr. Werdlow Rogers has been a speaker on numerous occasions among diverse audiences, including national professional conferences, colleges and universities, and at numerous training seminars. She has made public appearances on television and radio, and is heavily quoted in printed media accessible on the internet.

Dr. Werdlow Rogers has received numerous awards. She has held membership in many organizations including the International Association of the Chiefs of Police, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, served on the executive staff for the Interagency Committed of Women in Federal Law Enforcement (ICWIFLE), and was at one time a church trustee. Moreover, Dr. Werdlow Rogers developed a videotape and presentation entitled “Dangerous Liaisons: Drug Dealers and You,” designed to inform people about the dangers of involvement with drug dealers, and to provide information about how drug dealers behaviorally operate. She continues to educate community groups in a presentation entitled “Risky Business: How to Avoid Involvement in the Drug Trade,” in an effort to reduce drug facilitation. In 2007, her efforts led to the nationally recognized Generations Rx: Children in the Medicine Cabinet, a public awareness effort aimed at reducing pharmaceutical drug abuse through a unique forum. This novel campaign piloted in Brockton, MA offered a drug identification and drop zone, permitting the public, for the first time, to properly dispose of unwanted drugs and learn the identity of any surrendered drug that the participants suspected was being abused by loved ones.