Blood Lead Level in Opiate Addicts Hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit of a Trauma Referral Center in Kerman, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Department of Pediatric, School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Background: Opium is the most commonly-used narcotic in Iran and some Asian countries. There are many reports of lead poisoning in opium users. Lead poisoning encompasses a wide range of symptoms the incidence and severity of which depend on the concentration and duration of contact with lead. The present study compares blood levels of lead in two groups of non-addicted patients and opiate addicts admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a trauma referral hospital in Kerman, Iran.
Methods:Two groups of about 30 patients were compared. The first group was the patients who were known as opium addict according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-4th Edition (DSM-IV) and the second group was the patients who had no history of opium abuse. Patients' data were collected through a questionnaire. After determining the blood lead concentration by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS) with graphite furnace, the data were analyzed by statistical tests.
Findings: Blood lead levels (BLLs) in both addicted and non-addicted groups showed a significant difference (P < 0.050), but there was no meaningful relationship between blood lead concentration and other factors such as age, gender, type of opium, method of consumption, amount of use, and duration of dependence.
Conclusion: Many of opium-addicted ICU patients in Kerman had a high BLL due to opium pollution that can be harmful for these patients.


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