A popular Russian drug that is similar to heroin is now making its way into the United States, and health officials say that it is extremely deadly.
The drug, known as Krokodil, is highly toxic and can easily rot flesh. Drug users in Russia make it because it causes effects similar to heroin, but it is much cheaper and can be easily made by mixing codeine with substances like gasoline, oil, alcohol, or even paint thinner. Users inject the substance into their veins, and their skin eventually turns colors, starts to peel, and eventually rots off, exposing bone and flesh.
Now, two different reports of Krokodil use have been reported in Arizona, and health officials are extremely worried that it could catch on elsewhere.
"We've had two cases this past week that have occurred in Arizona," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio of Banner’s Poison Control Center. “As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we're extremely frightened.”
Dr. LoVecchio explains that use of this deadly drug will most certainly cause skin decay, and officials report that most people who become hooked die within a year of their first hit.
"They extract the drug and even though they believe that most of the oil and gasoline is gone, there is still remnants of it,” explains Dr. LoVecchio. “You can imagine just injecting a little bit of it into your veins can cause a lot of damage. When drug users do it repeatedly, the skin sloughs. It causes hardening of their skin. It will cause necrosis.”
According to The Daily Mail, Krokodil is three times cheaper to make than heroin, and there are reportedly nearly three million users in Russia. While only two cases of Krokodil use have been reported in the United States, many believe that it will catch on but hope to stop it from reaching epidemic levels like it has in Russia.