Systematic review of the toxicological and radiological features of body packing

Gabriele Sani, S Cappelletti, D Piacentino, E Bottoni, PA Fiore, M Aromatario, C Ciallella

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

32 Citazioni (Scopus)


Body packing is the term used for the intracorporeal concealment of illicit drugs, mainly cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and cannabinoids. These drugs are produced in the form of packages and are swallowed or placed in various anatomical cavities and body orifices. Basing on these two ways of transportation a distinction between body stuffers and body pushers can be made, with the former described as drug users or street dealers who usually carry small amounts of drugs and the latter as professional drug couriers who carry greater amounts of drugs. A review of the literature regarding body packing is presented, with the aim to highlight the toxicological and radiological features related to this illegal practice. Raising awareness about the encountered mean body levels of the drugs and the typical imaging signs of the incorporated packages could be useful for clinicians and forensic pathologists to (a) identify possible unrecognized cases of body packing and (b) prevent the serious health consequences and deaths frequently occurring after the packages' leakage or rupture or the packages' mass obstructing the gastrointestinal lumen.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)693-709
Numero di pagine17
RivistaInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016


  • Body packing
  • Death
  • Health consequences
  • Imaging
  • Radiology
  • Toxicology


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