2005_05_health_tetanus.jpgThe NYCDOH released today information about a Bronx man who injected himself with suspected contaminated heroin. He reportedly did not feel his typical euphoric state afterwards and presented to the hospital complaining of diffuse pain that progressively worsened into severe muscle spasms. He eventually was placed on a ventilator and his status remains unknown. The DOH believes that the heroin was possibly contaminated with strychnine or Clostridium tetani. Gothamist Health believes that street drugs are...well...bad. Who knows what kind of conditions in which these substances are manufactured? Obviously the FDA has no power to regulate potency, purity, and sterility in the process in even the cleanest meth labs out in Missouri. On second thought, neither does the FDA have the power to regulate any of the (air quotes) Dietary Supplements and Herbal Remedies (air quotes) we as Americans love to feed our bodies. Thanks to the Clinton Administration's failure to ensure that herbs sold to unsuspecting Americans receive strict regulation, we now must guess which grassy area of the Sheep Meadow is being sold to us as St. John's Wort (hopefully it's not the grass under the butt of that slimy dude that hit on me and my girl). So once again, please think long and hard about what you put in your body -- be it heroin or ginkgo biloba. And be smug knowing you might have to spend an arm and a leg on your herbs. The study referenced above found that the higher priced supplements also tended to be the most pure. By the way, if you are wondering what the hell that picture is, it's a painting by Sir Charles Bell of a soldier suffering muscle spasms while dying of tetanus.