KENTUCKY (10/16/13) – WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT!!! Originating overseas in Russia and Eastern Europe, a new street drug, Krokodil, has surfaced in parts of the United States. Krokodil became popular internationally as a cheap alternative to heroin, achieving a similar “high” for about 10% of the price.
Named for the scaly green appearance of the skin once gangrene sets in, Krokodil started in Russia due to the lack of availability of heroin. It was essentially a back-alley version of desomorphine, which is derived from codeine and processed with gasoline, paint thinner, red phosphorus, lighter fluid, hydrochloric acid and iodine.
Desomorphine itself isn’t responsible for the “rotting from the inside-out” effect of Krokodil; the drug in fact was first patented in the 1930s and marketed in Switzerland under the brand name Permonid.
According to the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, about 1 million of Russia’s population is estimated to be Krokodil users for over the last decade.
The average life expectancy of a Krokodil user is not more than 2 to 3 years. User’s bones and muscles can be exposed as the drug eats through the flesh causing the user to be more susceptible to infections. Those who intravenously inject Krokodil will develop lesions and abscesses from the infectious bacteria Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Those who use Krokodil will test positive for MRSA infection because the drug compromises the immune system.
Krokodil ravages the flesh and often amputation and skin graphs are the only medical treatment available.
“It’s not real prevalent around here,” said Police Chief Wade Williams with the Madisonville Police Department in Hopkins County, KY. “It’s a terrible hazardous toxic substance. We are definitely keeping our ear to the ground and up-to-date on the new freshest thing out there. While we haven’t heard of a lot of instances where it’s being used around here, we want to make sure that it doesn’t weed its way into this area. We want to keep everybody educated about it. This is truly a bad thing, not just the drug effect but the bacterial effects and everything else associated with it.”
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