A hidden epidemic of chronic disease — organ failure, leaky blood vessels, and “flesh eating” infections — might threaten cocaine and meth users in coming years because of increasing signs of dangerous adulterants in illicit drugs, analysts warn.

That’s worrisome because cocaine use is up 47% since its low point in 2011, with 2.2% of people over the age of 12 reporting they have snorted or smoked it in the last year. US cocaine and methamphetamine overdose deaths have also roughly tripled in the last five years, according to the CDC. (Methamphetamine overdoses killed 12,987 people last year, and cocaine overdoses killed another 15,699.)…

Cocaine mixed with fentanyl, a potent opioid, is thought to be the major driver of the rise in stimulant deaths. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime blames record coca crops in Colombia and cheaper cocaine for a resultant stimulant-drug boom worldwide.