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Contaminated heroin putting users at risk in Los Angeles

August 22, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Health officials have identified three more cases of botulism associated with black tar heroin in Los Angeles County.

The county Department of Public Health last month warned that injection drug users are at greatest risk from heroin contaminated with the bacteria that can cause death.

Three cases of botulism were found in June and officials said Wednesday that three more have now been identified.

The illness can be mistaken for a drug overdose and includes symptoms including drooping eyelids, blurred vision and trouble breathing.

Officials warn that contaminated drugs look the same as drugs that do not contain bacteria. And “cooking,” or heating, the heroin will not kill the bacteria.

Botulism can spread between users who share needles.

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