Open Access Open Badges Case Report

Body packing by rectal insertion of cocaine packets: a case report

Fabio Fernandes Neves1*, Palmira Cupo2, Valdair Francisco Muglia3, Jorge Elias Junior3, Marcello Henrique Nogueira-Barbosa3 and Antonio Pazin-Filho3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Federal University of Sao Carlos, Sao Carlos, Brazil

2 Department of Pediatrics and Puericulture, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:178  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-178

Published: 3 May 2013



Body packing is used for international drug transport, immediate drug concealment during a police searching or introducing drugs inside prisons. Despite the high level of specialization of dealers who have started to manufacture more complex packs, up to 5% of patients could develop intoxication due to pack rupture. Bowel obstruction is another acute complication.

Case presentation

A 27-year-old black male patient was sent to the hospital by court order for clinical evaluation and toxicological examination. The patient was conscious, oriented, had good color, normal arterial pressure and heart rate, and no signs of acute intoxication. Abdominal examination revealed discrete pain upon deep palpation and a small mass in the left iliac fossa. A plain abdominal radiograph revealed several oval structures located in the rectum and sigmoid. Fasting and a 50 g dose of activated charcoal every six hours were prescribed. After three days, the patient spontaneously evacuated 28 cocaine packs.


Adequate clinical management and prompt identification of potential complications are of fundamental importance in dealing with body packing.