Drug Residues

What are drug residues?
Where do drug residues come from?
Who needs to know about drug residues?
What types of objects can become contaminated?
How do you get rid of drug residues?
What symptoms can drug residues sometimes cause?
What assumptions are needed in order to understand the concept of drug residues?
How can you test for drug residue contamination?
How should this information be used?

What are drug residues?

Drug residues are extremely small quantities of a drug. They are spread in a thin layer on the surfaces of objects. They are not visible to the eye. These residues are left on surfaces whenever a contaminated person or thing touches another object. The residues are transferred from one thing to another. They are like fingerprints, like a mark or stain left on something.

Where do drug residues come from?

Drug residues can come from several different sources. They can come from any parts of medicinal or poisonous plants, such as seeds, leaves, stems, flowers, roots, or any other parts of the plants, sometimes even if those parts of the plants are not usually believed to contain a drug. They can even come from the soil underneath poisonous plants growing outdoors, such as the soil near wild rhododendron plants. Walking on the soil near rhododendron plants can cause people to leave invisible, poison-contaminated footprints in their cars and on their carpets. Residues can also come from the skin oils and sweat of people who use drugs, including prescription drugs. They can come from chemicals that were handled by people who were making or processing drugs, such as in the contamination left in meth labs. They can come from smoke, such as tobacco smoke, smoke from incense that contains synthetic drugs, marijuana smoke, or other kinds of smoke. They can come from essential oils used in aromatherapy. They can come from drugs which are known to go through the skin, such as LSD.

Who needs to know about drug residues?

It is important for people to be aware of the possibility of drug residue contamination if they are growing or handling medicinal herbs, using aromatherapy, handling dangerous chemicals, manufacturing drugs at home, working in factories that produce drugs, using prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or over-the-counter medicinal herbs, or living near some types of poisonous plants growing outdoors such as rhododendrons. It is important for people to know about contamination if they have friends or family members who are using medicinal herbs or prescription drugs or who have used them in the past. It is important for people to know about drug residues if they are chemical sensitive and have noticed themselves having reactions to small amounts of other substances. It is important for people to know about residues if they are having strange, intermittent symptoms that they cannot explain.

What types of objects can become contaminated?

Clothing, furniture, carpets, floors, cars, walls (usually from smoke or aromatherapy oils), beds, books, papers, bathtubs, people, animals - any objects can become contaminated.

How do you get rid of drug residues?

Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to clean up drug residues, especially from soft porous surfaces like fabric. If the residues are of an especially toxic kind, such as ephedra sinica oils, they may still remain and be noticeable even on smooth surfaces such as metal or plastic, even after many attempts to wipe them off.

If the contamination is severe and dangerous, it is necessary to throw away contaminated objects. Whenever a large number of objects are contaminated, whenever one cannot tell which objects are clean and which ones are not, it is frustrating and time-consuming to repeatedly clean and test objects to see whether they will cause another reaction.

Throwing contaminated items into the garbage is regrettable, wasteful, and emotionally traumatic, but it is better to throw them away. If the items are sold or given away to somebody else, that person is at risk of being contaminated, even if they are not known to be chemically sensitive, even if they do not believe that they are in any danger from drug residues.

Washing contaminated clothing in the laundry is not effective at removing extremely toxic drug residues such as ephedra. The washer spreads the residues around throughout the entire load of laundry so that even the clothes that were not contaminated in the first place are now ruined. Washing the clothes repeatedly (such as seven or eight times in a row) is still not effective at removing extremely toxic residues. It is best to throw clothing into the garbage and to buy new clothing from a secondhand store such as Goodwill, which sometimes sells clothes at very low prices ($0.29), depending on the store. Buying new clothing will be extremely expensive during a contamination incident, because clothing will repeatedly become contaminated when it comes in contact with furniture, carpets, car seats, and other contaminated surfaces. Clothing should be viewed as disposable.

What symptoms can drug residues sometimes cause?

Drug residues can cause a huge number of different symptoms. They can cause all of the intended effects, side effects, and withdrawal effects of any drug that tends to leave residues, but usually at a lower intensity than the effects you would experience if you took the drug in the usual way. The effects depend on which drug residues you have been exposed to.

Unexplained anxiety attacks, brain fog, chronic fatigue, persistent sexual arousal, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, mood swings, and food cravings are just a few symptoms which may be caused by drug residues. Any side effects that persist after quitting a drug might be caused by drug residues.

Some persistent drug effects are not caused by transdermal drug residues. Some drugs cause permanent damage to body organs and tissues, and this results in symptoms that linger after quitting the drug.

What assumptions are needed in order to understand the concept of drug residues?

Assume that a great many drugs can potentially go through the skin. Most people assume that drugs and poisons can only get into the body if they are eaten or if they are injected with a needle. Some people know about a few drugs that are able to go through the skin, for instance, LSD, or nicotine on patches that are supposedly used to help people stop smoking, but they are not aware that the vast majority of herbal drugs go through the skin, and they are not aware that prescription pills can also contain some substances that go through the skin.

It is misleading to read about corporations that are developing ways to deliver drugs through the skin, because those descriptions make it sound as though it is extremely difficult to get any drug to go through the skin, when in fact it is easy to do and it often happens by itself without any special substances or delivery mechanisms. Assume that it is very easy to get drugs to go through the skin without any special techniques or processes. It is true that not every chemical is able to go through the skin; however, a surprisingly large number of chemicals do.

Assume that all drugs can potentially produce vapors that can be inhaled, even without smoke. Most people believe that some drugs can be inhaled only if they are burned and inhaled. But many medicinal herbs produce vapors that come directly from the plant leaves, vapors which can be inhaled simply by breathing the air around the plant. It is even possible to inhale the air from inside a bottle of prescription drugs and to have a reaction to the tiny dosages of drugs in that air.

Assume that drug residues last forever. Most people believe that chemical residues disappear, get cleaned off, biodegrade, decay, change, oxidize, or somehow become inactive over time. However, even though drug residues might possibly change, they are usually still active and able to cause reactions even after an extremely long time has passed.

Assume that extremely low dosages of a drug are able to produce severe symptoms and reactions. Most people assume that it is impossible to have any drug effects, side effects, poisoning, or any other kinds of reactions or symptoms from low dosages of a drug, and they assume that large amounts must be taken before a drug becomes dangerous or produces any unwanted effects. But in reality, very low dosages of drugs do produce effects in people; however, most people do not pay enough attention to notice these effects, and if they do notice the effects, they are not aware of what caused them. Unfortunately, with very toxic poisons such as ephedra, it seems to take only a few molecules to cause extremely severe reactions.

Also, reactions are much worse if several drugs are interacting, because some substances can interfere with the body's ability to metabolize chemicals. If the body is already reacting to some other drug, it may not be able to process tiny amounts of another substance that it comes in contact with. Some drugs and chemicals will increase the body's sensitivity to whole groups of other chemicals. Expect to have worse reactions to small amounts of other substances if you are using any kind of drug at all.

Assume that you are competent and capable of using your senses to observe and detect drug residues. If you are noticing symptoms that occur every single time you touch an object, then you probably really are detecting some kind of substance that is on that object. Most people assume that their senses are not competent to make valid scientific observations. However, all observations must be processed through the senses somehow. Even when a scientist uses a piece of equipment and reads a number on a screen, they must trust their eyes and brain to correctly see and interpret the numbers they are reading. Primitive people learned about medicinal herbs by experiencing them, and they did not have laboratories, expensive equipment, or double-blind placebo-controlled studies to help them feel sure that they were observing correctly.

How can you test for drug residue contamination?

The easiest way to test for the presence of drug residues in your home and on your belongings is to temporarily live someplace else for several days and then observe whether your symptoms change. You might stay in a hotel room or go camping or go to a friend's house. Take a shower and then change into new clothing that you just purchased. You may slightly contaminate the new place where you are staying, but you may still be able to observe that your symptoms become milder or stop for a while.

It is probably cheaper and easier to test for drug residues yourself by observation, but there may be some other tests that are able to detect the presence of a specific chemical on surfaces. Detective agencies might use similar tests which could possibly be adapted to look for drug residues. For example, a company called Intelligent Fingerprinting has a method of detecting drug residues in fingerprints.

How should this information be used?

This information is meant to be used as a heuristic, a method of solving a problem. Health problems can be caused by many different factors. Drug residues are only one possible factor that could be causing someone's problems. Do not assume that drug residues are the only possible cause of a problem. Test for drug residues if you have good reason to suspect that you might have been exposed to something, for instance, if a family member has been growing medicinal herbs and you started noticing strange symptoms during the time period when they began growing the plants. Test for drug residues if you continue to have persistent side effects for months and months after quitting a drug.