A heroin like but cheaper synthetic alternative drug, Krokodil which has caused wide havoc in Russia has now been reported in the US with the first release of graphic images.
Said to be three to twenty times cheaper than heroin and created by mixing codeine with gasoline or oil, users filter and boil the concoction before then injecting into the body. The synthetic mix is said to offer a similar but considerably much cheaper high than heroin.
Doctors at Banner’s Poison Control Center, Arizona who first reported the appearance of the drug on US shores tell the drug, Krokodil (medically called desomorphine) has left devastating consequences on those afflicted.
Said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at the medical center: “As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported… We’re extremely frightened.”
‘We’ve had two cases this past week that have occurred in Arizona.’
Added LoVecchio of the reptilian like symptoms users suffer: ‘When drug users do it repeatedly, the skin sloughs. It causes hardening of their skin. It will cause necrosis.’
Once injected, the drug causes damage to blood vessels and tissue that cause flesh to rot from the inside out. The horrific sores that some users develop resemble crocodile skin, which lends the street drug its name. The average life expectancy of a krokodil user is about three years, according to KSAZ.
Continual use of Krokodil causes blood vessels to burst, leaving skin green and scaly among addicts eventually causing gangrene and their flesh to begin to rot.
Some users in Russia develop brain damage and speech impediments in addition to the horrific scars. Even those users who are said to be able to stop sometimes end up disfigured for life.
”These people are the ultimate in self-destructive drug addiction,” Dr. Ellen Marmur, chief of dermatological and cosmetic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City told Fox News, “Once you are an addict at this level, any rational thinking doesn’t apply.”
Rabid use in Russia has caused up to 2.5 million people to register and seek treatment as addicts and the average life span for a user is only two to three years.
In 2011 alone, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service confiscated 65 million doses.
According to Time magazine, ‘Gangrene and amputations are a common result, while porous bone tissue, especially in the lower jaw, often starts to dissipate, eaten up by the drug’s acidity.’
Prevalent in Siberia and the Russian Far East, the explosion of users began in 2002, but over the past five years in Russia, usage has trebled. What though is not understood is why the drug failed to catch on in the US until now and why in fact it suddenly has surfaced as a drug of choice for some users. Or could one wonder if there is now a shift and willingness towards synthetic and cheaper highs?
The cases reported at the Phoenix-area poison control center may be the first in the U.S. — but Dr. LoVecchio’s biggest fear is that there may be more incidents forthcoming.
“Where there is smoke there is fire, and we’re afraid there are going to be more and more cases.”