Cocaine-induced psychosis and sudden death in recreational cocaine users

C. V. Wetli, David A Fishbain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

158 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fatal cocaine intoxication presenting as an excited delirium is described in seven recreational cocaine users. Symptoms began with the acute onset of an intense paranoia, followed by bizarre and violent behavior necessitating forcible restraint. The symptoms were frequently accompanied by unexpected strength and hyperthermia. Fatal respiratory collapse occurred suddenly and without warning, generally within a few minutes to an hour after the victim was restrained. Five of the seven died while in police custody. Blood concentration of cocaine averaged 0.6 mg/L, about ten times lower than that seen in fatal cocaine overdoses. Police, rescue personnel, and emergency room physicians should be aware that excited delirium may be the result of a potentially fatal cocaine intoxication; its appearance should prompt immediate transport of the victim to a medical facility. Continuous monitoring, administration of appropriate cocaine antagonists, and respiratory support will hopefully avert a fatal outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-880
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume30
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

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psychosis
intoxication
Sudden Death
Cocaine
Psychotic Disorders
police
death
child custody
personnel
Delirium
physician
Police
monitoring
Paranoid Disorders
Fatal Outcome
Hospital Emergency Service
Fever
Physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Law

Cite this

Cocaine-induced psychosis and sudden death in recreational cocaine users. / Wetli, C. V.; Fishbain, David A.

In: Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 30, No. 3, 01.01.1985, p. 873-880.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wetli, C. V. ; Fishbain, David A. / Cocaine-induced psychosis and sudden death in recreational cocaine users. In: Journal of Forensic Sciences. 1985 ; Vol. 30, No. 3. pp. 873-880.
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