According to health officials, krokodil, a flesh-eating drug popular in Russia and Eastern Europe that is used as a cheaper alternative to heroin, has surfaced in the U.S.
The drug became popular as an alternative to heroine, accomplishing a similar “high” for a fraction of the cost. New York’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services estimates that up to 1 million people use krokodil in Russia.
Dr. Abhin Singla, reported that at least three patients had sympotoms consistent with krokodil abuse at Provena St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Joliet, Illonois. Krokodil abuse causes symptoms which include scaly skin, abscesses, lesions, and gangrenous limbs. The drug ravage the flesh often leaving amputation as the only viable medical treatment.
Krokdil is made of codeine and ordinary ingredients which include paint thinner, iodine, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorus, gasoline, and lighter fluid.
According to Dr. Singla it is a horrific way to die, the smell of rotting flesh is sickening.
One of the patients suffering from krokodil abuse is a 25-year-old woman with a history of heroine abuse who switched over to krokodil about 1 month ago. According to Dr. Singla when she came in the drug had started to destroy over 70% of her lower body.
The emergence of possible krokodil abuse in Illinois is not the only one, just last month Arizona physicians reported treating patients who claimed to have used krokodil.
As of now the cases in Arizona, Illinois, and elsewhere in the U.S. are not confirmed to be krokodil.
According to the co-medical director of Phoenix-based banner Poison Control and Drug Information Center, Frank LoVecchio, confirmation of the drug requires the substance injected, not just positive identification of the ingredients.
Nevertheless, LoVecchio told Los Angeles Times Reporters that “his ‘gut feeling’ was that some of the reported cases were credible.”