We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926
We Have Beds Available! Call For Same Day Admission. 855-722-6926

Drug-Induced Skin Disorders

Drug-Induced Skin Disorders

Drugs can cause a variety of side effects, including problems with the skin.

Drug-induced skin disorders go way beyond a simple case of acne; several drugs cause all kinds of skin rashes and diseases that can eat away at the skin and cause further infection. Any problems in the skin can eventually seep into the bones, bloodstream, and organs, poisoning the body and increasing the person’s risk of death. As a drug and alcohol treatment center in Pompano, we are aware of how drugs affect the skin and the various kinds of drug-induced skin diseases that can occur.

How Do Drugs Affect The Skin?

Drug-induced skin disorders often occur as a reaction not only to the drug itself, but also any additional substances they may have been cut with. Drugs like cocaine are often “cut” or mixed with cheaper products in order to increase a seller’s profit while stretching their supplies. When it comes to cocaine, additives like levamisole, a deworming agent for livestock, can cause ulceration lesions and even cause the flesh to rot. Drug-induced skin disorders can also occur as a result of a drop in white blood cells, which help the body fight off infection and disease. This can promote more infection.

Differents Types of Drug-Induced Skin Reactions by Substance

Each drug causes a different skin reaction. Because each drug affects different areas of the body at different rates, some reactions may be more severe than others. Below is a list of different skin disorders caused by drugs.


  • Necrosis or rotting flesh caused by death of skin cells
  • Buildup of fibrous tissue in the skin
  • Blacken skin on the palms, also referred to as “crack hands”
  • Chronic skin ulcers
  • Pustulosis, puss-filled bumps in the skin
  • Buerger’s disease, inflammation of the veins in the extremities
  • Schonlein-Henoch vasculitis, inflammation in the blood vessels under the skin, causing red spots that bleed

Skin diseases aren’t the only side effects of cocaine abuse. A person with a cocaine dependency may also suffer from different cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure. At Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano, our cocaine treatment can help addicts avoid the physical repercussions of this dangerous drug.


Drug-induced skin rashes are common in heroin users who inject it rather than smoke or snort it. This repeated penetration of the skin can irritate it and increases the risk of infection. Many heroin addicts also use dirty needles or share their needles with others, increasing their chances of developing a skin disease.

Some common types of skin problems caused by heroin include:

  • Venous sclerosis, “track marks” or scars at injection sites on the skin
  • Abscesses, puss-filled bumps in the skin
  • Cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection that causes pain and swelling
  • Necrotizing skin lesions, a severe form of cellulitis that causes death in the skin and tissues
  • Skin popping, or when the drug is deposited under the skin rather than in a vein
  • Hives

With heroin treatment, these diseases and a variety of other health repercussions can be avoided.


Meth is infamous for the skin problems it causes; chronic meth users usually suffer from a condition known as meth mites, the sensation of bugs under the skin that causes the person to pick and scratch at themselves. This can lead to a variety of skin diseases like:

  • Skin sores
  • Scratches
  • Bacterial infections
  • Scarring
  • Dry skin

People can also inject methamphetamine, which can cause skin disorders similar to those caused by heroin.


Krokodil is the Russian word for “crocodile,” which is what users tend to look like when they begin using this drug. In fact, Krokodil is known for its effects on the skin; users tend to suffer from skin that’s turned green and black, giving the appearance of crocodile skin.

More skin problems related to krokodil abuse include:

  • Abscesses
  • Gangrene
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Limb ulceration
  • Skin discoloration
  • Ulcers
  • Infection
  • Bleeding

There are several skin diseases caused by drugs that can also lead to further health problems. Because addicts rarely receive medical treatment, any skin diseases they have can become infected. If left untreated, these infections can lead to skin rotting and even get into the bloodstream, which can be deadly.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse, call Banyan Pompano today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our rehab center in Florida and our unique therapies and programs.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.