If drug users think they are being safe by not using the flesh-rotting drug Krokodil, they may want to think again. It appears that unscrupulous drug dealers may be passing off the nightmare drug as heroin to unsuspecting addicts.
It has been reported that two women had been using it for a year and a half without even knowing it – until they showed up at a Joliet, Illinois hospital on October 7, 2013 with festering wounds.
Krokodil, which is sometimes referred to as Crocodile, is a type of homemade desomorphine, a drug which gives a similar high as the drug heroin. Because it is made with extremely toxic ingredients, such as gasoline and paint thinner, any contaminants left behind in the drug can cause the flesh at the injection site to literally rot away from the bone. (See the first link below the article for pictures.)
The drug originated from Russia, which is where the name Krokodil, which is Russian for the word crocodile, came from.
The drug received its name probably because it causes the skin to first turn green and scaly before rotting away, although some have speculated that it might have arisen from its flesh-eating properties, causing its victims to lose skin, muscle and even entire limbs like a crocodile bite.
According to a 2011 estimate, about 2 million Russians were addicted to Krokodil; and, its use was rapidly spreading to other parts of Europe.
Now, it appears that the deadly drug has made its way to the United States as well. It was first reported in Arizona last month, but cases are now popping up all over the country, with five cases in Joliet, Illinois being the most recent.
Perhaps most troubling about these newly reported cases is the fact that at least some of the victims did not seem to know that they were using the drug. Two women who have come forward to speak about their experiences were long-time heroin addicts and believed that they were using heroin. In fact, the two victims believed they must be getting a bargain deal because the high from the drug was so intense.
What the women experienced was actually not so surprising, experts say. The drug has a high very similar to heroin and its cheapness compared to the real thing is what has driven many Russian addicts to use the drug.
Unfortunately for drug users, the bargain price of Krokodil is not such a bargain. In addition to its flesh-rotting effects, the drug is highly addictive and many users claim it is nearly impossible to stop using the drug once a person starts. It is, in fact, claimed to be even more addictive than heroin. Once a person starts using they will quickly go downhill, experts say, usually not lasting for more than maybe two to four years. If drug dealers are now passing off this dangerous drug to unsuspecting users as being heroin, then this may be the beginning of a very serious public health problem.
Written by: Nancy Schimelpfening