Journal article

Lead poisoning associated with illicit opium use

Joshua Wong, Elyssia Bourke, Vanessa Roberts, Seok M Lim, Douglas Johnson, Peter S Hamblin, Harin Karunajeewa, Shaun Greene

INTERNAL MEDICINE JOURNAL | WILEY | Published : 2020

Abstract

Lead poisoning is an uncommon and challenging diagnosis to make. In 2018, The Victorian Department of Health issued a health warning following four cases of lead poisoning associated with illicit opium use in Melbourne, Australia. We present these cases to highlight clinical features and the relevant investigations leading to diagnosis. All cases occurred in recent immigrants to Australia, who had access to non-traditional sources of opioids. Health care professionals should consider lead poisoning in patients with appropriate symptoms and a history of illicit opium use.