First cases of the flesh-eating drugs from Russia hit US streets and alerted police and prosecutors. Originated in Russia 10 years ago, the said drug, known as Krokodil or desomorphine, is made with various substance mixes such as gasoline, codeine, headache pills, paint thinner and alcohol. Addict users inject this destructive opium-contained narcotic drug into their skin to get high; the same way with other narcotics that are injected such as heroin.
In 2011, 70 million doses of krokodil have been seized by Russia Federal Drug Control Services. Several cases are reported where addicts suffered horrifying side effects caused by this flesh-eating drug, and in some cases, users have died.
“This is something we hope would never make it to the US because it’s so detrimental to the people who use it,” said Dr. Aaron Skolnik, toxicologist at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center.
“As far as we know, these are the first cases in U.S. that are reported, so we’re extremely frightened,” said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center, as he confirms two cases in Arizona, but could not comment on the patients’ conditions.
As krokodil is shot in the user’s veins, the skin around the injected area forms crocodile-like scales, it turns green, scaly, and leaves a burned skin referred to as eschars. This dead epidermis bleeds, becomes infected, rots, and is literally eaten away which can lead to amputation, sickness and/or death.
Dr. Ellen Marmur, Chief of Dermatological and Cosmetic Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City said that those who still use this kind of drug, despite its effects, are usually the ultimate self-destructive drug addicts.
“Once you’re an addict at this level, any rational thinking doesn’t apply and just go out of the door,” she added.
The rule then is to “keep clean.” No drugs, no worries.