There has been no shortage of news in West Hollywood for a few years
now about the horrors of intravenous drug use, and specifically
crystal meth. After Ed Buck’s arrest, we started to see mentions that
Buck would blow meth smoke on the groin regions of men visiting his
apartment, with two men ending up dead there. This was also alleged in
the case documents.
Some rumors have even suggested that the drug was administered
directly to the penis. This is not something we have found alleged in
the case documents, and we cannot confirm. However, we decided to do
some research to see if this is even a plausible method for drug use.
It turns out that it is indeed a known method, and unsurprisingly, a
very risky one with negative outcomes. If you consider the penis
falling off in a bath a negative outcome.
Experts said drugs would be absorbed into the bloodstream through the
mucous membranes of the urethra as it would through any other mucous
membrane, such as in the nose, and presumably would have the same
effect. This can lead to priapism (the infamous and painful “erection
lasting more than four hours”), then a blood clot and in turn
gangrene, abscesses… and horrific complications.
We found one report about a heterosexual man from New York who
injected cocaine into his penis and ended up with gangrene and further
medical complications. This report was based on a letter published in
a 1988 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (and
subsequently reported in a June 1988 issue of the New York Times).
The case was summarized in Psychology Today by Mark Griffiths, Ph.D.:
The man in question came in for medical treatment following three days
of priapism (i.e., prolonged and painful penile erection) and
paraphimosis (i.e., foreskin in uncircumcised males can no longer be
pulled over the tip of the penis). To enhance his sexual performance,
he had administered cocaine directly into his urethra. After three
days, both the priapism and the paraphimosis “spontaneously resolved”.
However, the blood that had caused the priapism then leaked to other
areas of his body over the next 12 hours (including his feet, hands,
genitals, chest, and back). To stop the spread of gangrene, the medics
had to partially amputate both of his legs (above the knee), and nine
of his fingers. Following this, his penis also developed gangrene and
fell off by itself while he was taking a bath.
Also summarized in the Psychology Today article:
One of the earliest cases located was a 1986 report in the Journal of
Urology about “four heroin abusers with localized gangrene of the
genitalia, although only one of these had actually injected heroin
directly into his genitalia, in this case his scrotum and perineum
(the area between the anus and the scrotum). This latter case
developed more severe gangrene and was described as a “more lethal
entity” than the gangrene in the other three heroin users’ genitalia.”
In a 2015 article in Case Reports in Urology discusses two cases of
men developing abscesses. One man presented in the ER in “severe
penile pain and scrotal swelling having injected methamphetamine into
the shaft of his penis a few days before. On the same day that he went
to the emergency department he was immediately taken into the
operating room where an incision was made in his penis, and the
abscess was drained of its “purulent foul-smelling fluid” and washed
out with saline solution. The second case was a 33-year-old
heterosexual male with no previous medical history (apart from a
history of depression) turned up at the hospital emergency department
with acute penile pain, a day after he had injected methamphetamine
directly into his penis. Again, he was immediately taken to the
operating room where his penile abscess was drained after an
From the 2012 issue of the Journal of Andrology, one man even tried to
commit suicide by injecting methadone into his penis. “The man had a
15-year history of drug abuse over the past year and had attempted a
drug-related suicide three times. This particular suicide attempt led
to acute liver and renal failure as well as erectile dysfunction.
Although the man survived, ten months after the suicide attempt, the
man still had complete erectile dysfunction.”