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|Contaminated opium as a source of chronic Arsenic poisoning in Sri Lanka
De Silva, D.
|Sri Lanka Medical Association - 96th Anniversary Academic Sessions;1983_.26-27pp
|Chronic arsenic poisoning due to ingestion of illicit opium has been described in Sri Lanka recently. This study was undertaken to assess the extent of chronic arsenic poisoning occurring in long term opium dependents. Sixteen long term male opium dependents were examined for clinical and biochemical evidence of chronic arsenic poisoning. The following clinical picture emerged from the study. They were between the ages 29 and 69 years and had been ingesting opium over the past 2 to 30 years. Fouirteen patients had a diffuse dark hyperpimentation moremarkedover the extremities, particularly on the palms and soles. Sven had an additional spotty hypopigmentation. Quantitative presence of arsenic in urine, nails or hair was shown in 9 patients. Analysis of a sample of opium showed very high levels of arsenic. Chronic arsenic poisoning could be an important complication arising in our opium dependents. This possibility should be borne in mind in every opium dependent
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|Department of Clinical Medicine
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