Russian Flesh-Eating Drug Makes It Into The US
September 27, 2013

First US Cases Of Flesh-Eating Drug Krokodil Reported In Arizona

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A flesh-eating drug that first surfaced in Russia over a decade ago has found its way to US shores, with poison control center officials confirming that two people have been treated for using the substance this week.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Arizona, told Lee Moran of the New York Daily News on Thursday that there were two patients who had used Krokodil, an injectable narcotic with potentially deadly side-effects.

“As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we're extremely frightened,” LoVecchio told He noted that the cases appeared to be linked, and that there was concern that there will be more cases surfacing in the near future.

“This is really frightening," added LoVecchio’s colleague Dr. Aaron Skolnik, a toxicologist. “This is something we hoped would never make it to the U.S. because it's so detrimental to the people who use it.” Officials at the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center did not provide an update on the conditions of the patients.

According to Moran, Krokodil, which is also known by the medical name desomorphine and is said to be three-times cheaper to produce than heroin, is “a poisonous cocktail of codeine, gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous.” The homemade substance, which has reportedly been dubbed “the drug that eats junkies,” causes “gangrenous sores that open all the way to the bone.”

Once the substance is injected, it ruptures blood vessels, causing the user’s tissue to die and his or her skin to rot. As a result, the skin hardens and can even fall off to expose the bone, Time’s Eliza Gray reported. In addition, Daily Mail reporter James Nye said that the drug is also capable of causing brain damage and speech impediments.

The average life span of a Krokodil addict is two to three years, Gray said – though Moran said that the narcotic has been known to kill users within 12 months of their first hit. Desomorphine use was first reported in Russia over 10 years ago, and currently there are an estimated three million people using the substance.

“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. In 2011 alone, Russia's Federal Drug Control Service confiscated 65 million doses,” said Nye.

”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.”