Possibility Drugs Could Be Laced with Anthrax

Possibility Drugs Could Be Laced with Anthrax
Posted by FoM on October 11, 2001 at 12:53:58 PT
By Juan Montoya
Source: Worthington Daily Globe
As the FBI investigates to determine whether the death of a Florida man was a result of biological terrorism, an expert in microbiology and immunology has warned that terrorists are capable of lacing cocaine and heroin with deadly anthrax bacteria.Phillip Hanna, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan and an anthrax expert, said that such an occurrence had already been recorded in a Scandinavian country where heroin dealers had diluted the drug with powdered bone meal, which contained anthrax.
The incident occurred within the last year and involved heroin, he said."It was not done on purpose," said Hanna. "The bone meal has the same consistency and color as heroin, so it was similar. The addict died of anthrax."FBI Special Agent Bob Erikson with the Palm Beach County, Fla., office, said the prospect of deliberately tainted cocaine was "a scary thing," but said investigators had not determined the source of the bacteria in the Stevens death."We're still working on isolating the origin of this stuff,' he said. "We're still in the building."Federal and state authorities are calling the death of Robert Stevens, 63, a layout editor at the weekly tabloid, The Sun, isolated and no cause for alarm. Stevens, of Delray, Fla., died as a result of inhaling Bacillus anthracis, a strain of anthrax that results in death 90 percent of the time.Spores also were detected in the nasal cavity of Ernesto Blanco, a 73-year-old mail supervisor at The Sun who had been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. Traces of anthrax were also found in a white powder found on a keyboard used by Stevens.The FBI has led an aggressive investigation with health officials and representatives of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into how the two American Media employees came in contact with the anthrax bacteria.So far, there has been no report of the analysis of the white powder found on the keyboard or on whether cocaine has been found in the autopsy results done on Stevens. If there is something there, said Hanna, it could be an indication that someone may be lacing drugs with anthrax."I don't know if that could be the most effective way to disperse anthrax," he said. "It wouldn't be the most effective way to transmit it. But you don't know the minds of terrorists. You don't know with terrorists what they would do."However, Hanna said that Afghanistan was a primary source of the world's heroin."That area is one of the main heroin routes in the world," he said.Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent of anthrax, is a large, gram-positive, nonmotile, spore-forming bacterial rod. In layman's terms, this means that the causing agent of the bacteria can be detected with dye and does not move when studied in a laboratory sample.The three virulence factors of B. anthracis are edema toxin, lethal toxin and a capsular antigen. B. anthracis is considered to be a likely agent for use in acts of biological terrorism.Anthrax is not contagious and cannot be contracted person to person.Law enforcement sources said investigators were unable to match the Delray Beach strain of anthrax with any on record - the closest matches were a strain of anthrax from a goat and a laboratory-manufactured strain.In Washington, D.C., Florida Sen. Bob Graham said CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan told him that the likelihood that such a disease could have occurred without human intervention were, " 'Nil to none."The FBI was investigating any connection that may be found between the anthrax and the terrorists who commandeered four commercial jets and used them as deadly missiles, officials said.Only 18 cases of inhalation anthrax were reported in the United States during the 20th century, the most recent in 1976 in California. More common is a less serious form of anthrax contracted through the skin.Antibiotics can treat anthrax, although the rare, inhalation form that killed Stevens is particularly lethal. Untreated, 90 percent of victims die within days.Anthrax can be contracted from farm animals or soil, but the bacterium is not normally found among the wildlife or livestock in Florida. Stevens was described as an avid outdoorsman and gardener.The anthrax bacterium normally has an incubation period of up to seven days, but could take up to 60 days to develop.However, researchers like Hanna are still awaiting the results of the anthrax found in Steven's office to see whether it is that type of anthrax strain that killed Stevens. And they're waiting to see whether the type that killed him was the one that was developed through genetic engineering in countries like Russia."The spores have to be weaponized, to get it to the right consistency. It takes some specialized knowledge."Several countries are believed to be studying anthrax and may have stockpiles. Hanna said Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Russia all probably had anthrax and that some had developed strains of the bacteria resistant to treatment with conventional antibiotics and penicillin.According to the CDC, inhalation (pulmonary) anthrax occurs in persons working in certain occupations where spores may be forced into the air from contaminated animal products, such as animal hair processing.Occupational risk groups include those coming into contact with livestock or products from livestock, e.g., veterinarians, animal handlers, slaughterhouse workers, and laboratorians.A spokesman for Graham said the senator had not been informed whether FBI agents were investigating the possibility of terrorists lacing cocaine or other drugs.However, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday the case could become "a clear criminal investigation.""We don't have enough information to know whether this could be related to terrorism or not," he said during a news conference in Washington, D.C. Source: Worthington Daily Globe (MN)Author: Juan MontoyaPublished: October 10, 2001Copyright: Worthington Daily Globe 2001 Website: Anthrax Scare - Miami Herald Laden Taliban Heroin Connection
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Comment #11 posted by dddd on October 12, 2001 at 05:30:54 PT
,,and they're also saying that another terrorist attck is very likely....I think I even heard that the possibility was "100%",,,according to the fbi.........WHAT A PILE OF CRAP!!,,,,,,if it dont happen,,they will create it happenin'.....even some minor suspicious incident,,,will be expanded into a terrorist plot........... ..and furthermore,,,that's a pretty safe prediction,,,seeing as how we have been bombing the shit,,out of a group that is the equivilent of an Islamic Biker Gang......I can see it now!,,,,,,there's ol' bin Laden himself,,on a really cool chopped Harley,,,,,,Listen for the runnin',,,,,way out on the highway...........All these terrorist guys would make classic bikers,,,,,,,,just imagine a pack of these dudes on the most wanted list,,,,pullin' into a roadhouse just south of Kabul.....born to be wild!........the only problem is,,,those kinda toga robes they wear might get caught in the chains of the bikes,,,,,,but I bet one of them turbans would make a pretty good helmet,,,and allow them to get by the harsh Afghani helmet laws...... ... 
d. ..d. .....................    . d.......  .......  ........ ..... . d
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Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on October 12, 2001 at 04:50:00 PT:
Yes, especially this part
(from the Washington Post article link:)"White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the decision to issue the alert is consistent with Bush's insistence that federal authorities immediately release information about anthrax cases in Florida."It's important to be forthright with the public and to share information so that all appropriate actions can be taken by law enforcement officials," Fleischer said.Yes, how very...considerate of them - given that they had had at least 5 years to take the threat of a major terrorist attack against New York seriously - and did nothing. Enabling a bunch of fanatics armed with overgrown Xacto knives to kill 6,000 people.When the pols say that this is the 'Second Pearl Harbor' (and have you noticed that they have not been making too many such statements lately; rather embarrassing, eh, what?) there's far more to this than they wish to admit.So much for being 'forthright'. Like they've been about cannabis for 64 years?
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 11, 2001 at 21:39:42 PT
Interesting Article
Terrorist Attacks Imminent, FBI Warns 
By Dan Eggen and Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 12, 2001; Page A01 
The FBI warned yesterday that additional terrorist acts could be directed at U.S. interests at home and abroad over the "next several days," marking the most specific and urgent call of alarm from the Bush administration since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
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Comment #8 posted by firedog on October 11, 2001 at 19:32:30 PT
Wait a minute...
Of course, if cocaine were to be tainted, it might threaten our "President", so I guess that just leaves heroin... and crack, I suppose.
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Comment #7 posted by firedog on October 11, 2001 at 19:29:34 PT
New strain: Anthrax #1?
I would imagine that the heat from burning cannabis would neutralize any contaminants present in the weed. However, I don't know enough about anthrax spores to say for sure. They might be resistant to heat or radiation. If someone with more knowledge of biology knows, please tell us.I think that if somebody were to lace a drug with anthrax, heroin and cocaine would be much more likely targets. After all, they don't have to be heated.
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Comment #6 posted by Bounce to the Ounce on October 11, 2001 at 19:05:55 PT
Homegrown is better
The Drug War has created a dangerous underground market where weed and other drugs can be laced with all sorts of deadly sh*t. This is why growing it yourself is the best way.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 11, 2001 at 15:47:13 PT
Doom is a better word. A sense of doom. Very unsettling but I'm ok. Just sharing.If Anthrax took out drug addicts who would mind? We would. They sure didn't care when the AIDS epidemic started. And the band played on.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 11, 2001 at 15:44:24 PT
Please share your nightmares because I sure have been sharing mine recently. Actually last night I had a dream about terrorists. I always have nice dreams but this one I woke up with such as sense of forboding.(sp) Not pleasant at all.
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Comment #3 posted by schmeff on October 11, 2001 at 15:37:01 PT
Who has the knowledge?
Can't you just imagine how many prohibitionist/government/totalitarian causes could be futhered by anthrax laced drugs provided by the black budget arm of good ol' Uncle Sam?The DEA doesn't care about people or health, they care about power. A few million dead marijuana smokers would bother them not a whit, and the resulting fear of terrorism would promote huge budgets and consolidation of power at the expense of freedom and liberty. The prison industrial complex would burgeon even further, and only careful growers would feel safe tokin'.How easy for the Feds to confiscate the weed, at the border and elsewhere, lace it with anthrax spores made in Amerika, and get it back on the street.I apologize for my need to share my nightmares with you.
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on October 11, 2001 at 14:14:59 PT
Will they make up their minds?
It seems rather like running in two directions at once for our government to be trying to protect us from deadly overseas hard chemical powder drugs while they mercilessly hunt down, persecute and imprison anyone in this country growing organic 100% American cannabis on their private property for medical purposes completely economically isolated from any and all terrorist activity.Who is supposed to be the enemy here? Osama Bin Cancer Patient, I suppose.Yeah that's it -- Osama Bin Cancer Patient, wanted by the DEA for attempting to survive cancer treatment.
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Comment #1 posted by bruce42 on October 11, 2001 at 12:57:42 PT
that's just super
Just what we needed... more excuses for these guys to crack down.
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