What is included in the physical exam for cocaine toxicity when body stuffing is suspected?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD, JD; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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Packets of illicit drugs may be ingested or inserted into body cavities by "swallowers," "internal carriers," "couriers," or "mules" to intentionally transport drug, a practice called body packing. Another practice, body stuffing, involves swallowing relatively small amounts of loosely wrapped drug, or secreting packets in body cavities because of the fear of arrest. With suspicion of body stuffing, perform careful cavity searches of the rectum and vagina after obtaining patient consent. Continued drug absorption is likely if toxicity continues for more than 4 hours.

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