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The smuggling of illicit drugs by concealing them within the human body has become a widespread practice. Those individuals who transport packaged drugs are commonly known as “body packers” or “mules”. “Body stuffers,” on the other hand, are individuals who emergently place the contraband in a body orifice when they sense apprehension is imminent. In the latter instance, the drugs are not well packaged for transportation by human “consumption,” hence the high risk for leakage. These individuals require prompt surgical attention under two circumstances: when they are found to suffer from drug overdosage caused by inadvertent leakage or when obstruction in the body is caused by the drug-laden bags. Two such cases are reported. The first patient presented with acute drug overdose and required an emergency laparotomy. The second patient presented with pyloric obstruction and was treated by endoscopic removal of the bag. One must be aware that these patients are walking time bombs, carrying drugs that may be well packed but have the potential to deliver a lethal dose without warning. Knowledge of the type of drug and type of packaging are essential in managing these patients. The overall plan should be close observation, careful monitoring, conservative therapy, and expectant rapid surgical intervention as needed.
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Accepted: May 16, 1992
© 1993 Published by Elsevier Inc.