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Man who swallowed 48 bags of cocaine shares the wild effects it had on his body
Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Man who swallowed 48 bags of cocaine shares the wild effects it had on his body

Luke spoke about the moment he realized the drug had entered his system

Whether you consider yourself knowledgeable about drugs or not, you could probably take a pretty good guess at what amount is considered 'too much'.

When it comes to cocaine, it's pretty clear that 48 bags - or 285 grams - is too much.

And yet, that's the amount Ohio-born Luke risked putting into his body, albiet in wrapped packages, when he found himself desperate for money.

Luke's salary barely covered his payments.
Getty Stock Photos

Luke got into trying drugs after heading off to college following a Christian upbringing, when he was keen to 'broaden [his] mind'.

"The marijuana taught me introspectiveness," he said. "The MDMA taught me feeling your body.. I experimented some with psychedelics, with LSD,

and mushrooms."

Following his experimentation period, Luke graduated in 2015 and got a job in petroleum engineering. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the industry was hit by a crisis, and oil went from '$100 a barrel down to $30 a barrel'.

He ended up being paid 'very, very little' - hardly enough to cover his student loan payments of $1,200 per month.

Sharing his story on the This Is Actually Happening podcast, Luke explained: "For somebody who constantly thought about immortality, thinking about being forced to pay on student loans for the next 10 or 20 years, it drove me absolutely nuts.

"So, I felt like my happiness was going to be constantly put on hold until I had that debt taken care of."

This is when Luke began thinking about quick ways he could make money. He didn't want to do anything 'immoral', but since he'd previously had good experiences with drugs, he believed they could be the answer.

Luke Himes needed money to pay off his student loans.

"I figured if others could [sell drugs], I could. Which was, obviously, a very overconfident, even slightly arrogant way of thinking," he said.

Luke didn't start small. Instead, he went 'straight to the source', in Panama. There, he met someone who could supply him with cocaine.

Over the course of a week and a half, Luke met up with the seller multiple times, each time buying various amounts of cocaine until he'd spent around $1,600 to obtain 285 grams.

Now, he just had to get it back into the US.

Speaking to UNILAD about his plan, Luke explained: " I think only a psychopath wouldn’t have concerns selling an illicit substance. I had concerns but the psychological pressure of the fear of getting caught was a motivator to try and think through what I was attempting to do.

"I did what I could to think everything through to minimize my risks, but obviously there are things I overlooked, and factors that weren’t entirely in my control."

Not wanting to get caught with the drug in his possession, Luke came up with a plan. He'd wrap up the coke, swallow it, then let it come out the other end once he'd landed in the US.

"That obviously sounds disgusting, but if you’re talking about potentially making $40,000 or $50,000, it, for me at least, was worth it," Luke said.

Luke planned to sell the drug in the US.
Getty Stock Photo

He split his stash into 48 latex-wrapped bags, each around the size of a 'large thumb'.

He'd wanted to give himself time to swallow all of the bags, but ended up being rushed and 'basically forced them all down into [his] body all at once'.

Though the trip was 'extremely uncomfortable', Luke made it back to the US undetected.

He got to a hotel, but by the time he arrived he began to experience pain and 'violent' shaking in his side. He'd read about stomach issues while planning his journey, and didn't want to turn himself in 'prematurely' if it passed.

However, the symptoms only worsened when Luke began dry heaving - a reaction which could leave him choking on one of the packages if he wasn't able to swallow it back down.

After drinking some water to prevent the drugs from coming back up his throat, Luke spent some time 'trying to deal with the pain' when he began to feel the feeling of 'euphoria'.

He explained: "I knew what [cocaine] felt like from previous experiences. I think when my body was shaking, that was the point where one of the packages actually ruptured."

Luke recognized the effects of the drug from previous experiences.

It was clear that his body was rejecting the drug, and Luke 'knew [he] was in a lot of trouble'. When he realized his mind was no longer 'controllable', he called an ambulance and told the paramedics what happened, while his heart started 'racing like crazy'.

At the hospital, Luke was given a substance to help him throw up. He spoke with a detective about what happened, but soon began to feel himself 'fading out'.

Luke learned later that he had a 'very high' likelihood of dying if another package had broken inside him, so doctors performed an emergency laparotomy in which they cut open his intestines and removed the packages of cocaine that were still intact.

After arriving at hospital, Luke slipped into a 10-day coma, during which he had visions of himself living a number of different lives, including experiencing homelessness, and living with a community in a 'treehouse'.

"Some of them were as short as a day, but... most of them were at least several weeks long, maybe several months long," Luke said. "I felt as if all of these were as real as my waking, conscious life."

Luke had to undergo surgery to remove the packages.

Even after he woke, Luke experienced visual and auditory hallucinations, including believing that the nurses were trying to kill him and his family.

It took a few days for Luke to start thinking more rationally, and a week until he was 'back to normal'. However, due to the effects of the cocaine and his time in a coma, Luke lost 40 pounds, leaving him 'extremely weak'.

At first he couldn't even go to the bathroom by himself, and he was 'always cold'. After he was released from hospital on bond for his crime, Luke's legal team negotiated a plea deal and managed to agree on a sentence of 21 months in prison.

While behind bars Luke spent time educating himself and others, and he now considers the time 'probably the largest period of growth in [his] life'.

He was released after 18 months for good behaviour, and went on to get a job as a rig hand. With medical bills and legal bills now contributing to his debt, Luke is still working every day to improve his financial situation - only through legal routes, this time.

Luke believes he's now a 'more satisfied' human.

Luke decided to share his story after being encouraged by friends to do so, but he's hopeful that what he went through will help 'influence someone's life for the better'.

"If not that, [hopefully I can] at least provide some entertainment from a pretty ridiculous story," he added.

Looking back, Luke has recognized three main takeaways from what he went through.

One - "No individual is an island, and regardless of your intention, you bring the people who love you with you on your painful journeys."

Two - "The mind is extremely fragile yet extremely resilient both in psychological and neurophysiological terms. There is a fine line between a healthy mind and a lost one."

Three - "Good people can be found everywhere."

Not only that, but he also learned that having life as he knew it taken away from him was not only 'bearable', but allowed him to come back as a person that's 'wiser and a more full, satisfied human'.

If you've been affected by drug use and want to speak to someone in confidence, you can call the National Drug Helpline on (844) 289-0879, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Your call is always free and 100% confidential with a trusted advisor. Call for yourself or a loved one.

Topics: Drugs, Crime, US News, Life, Money