Beware: Flesh Rotting Street Drug “Krokodil”

Krokodil Drug – May Have Come From Russia to the US

Over a year ago the nation was shocked by the synthetic drug known as bath salts that was suspected in a horrific act of violence in Miami, Florida. Since then there have been national crackdowns on head shops and gas stations that sold the synthetic drug and news reports of it have dwindled. Last week a new drug, that proves just as, if not more, horrifying than bath salts may have hit the streets in the US.

The drug is called “krokodil” because it causes users to break out in scaly sores like a crocodile. These sores aren’t a result of picking, as with meth addicts but from contaminants in the drug that cause human flesh to rot, much like gangrene. The drug has been on the streets of Russia and authorities hoped it wouldn’t find its way to the US – but it may have. The Banner Good Samaritan Poison Control Center in Phoenix, Arizona got wind from physicians about symptoms in their emergency rooms that were consistent with the IV use of krokodil – although toxicology reports have yet to confirm this.

These reports were taken seriously on a national level because emerging drugs are often first seen by physicians that treat the symptoms. Reportedly two addicts arrived in a Phoenix area hospital with exposed bone and flesh hanging off their bodies. Accordingly, news reports about krokodil that followed bear a resemblance to those about bath salts a year ago – with headlines like “Zombie Apocalypse Drug Reaches US: This Is Not a Joke” and “The Most Horrifying Drug in the World Comes to the US.”

Given the drug’s horrific effects that often require amputations, people are left wondering what the appeal of it is and why people would even try it in the first place. In Russia alone up to 1 million people are estimated to use it according to New York’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The appeal in Russia is that the drug mimics the effects of opiates but is 3 times cheaper than heroin and can be made with household products.

The DEA currently believes reports are just anecdotal because other reports of krokodil over the past few years were never confirmed, according to agency spokesman Rusty Payne. We hope they are just anecdotal and the public stays safe and aware – especially educating loved ones about the effects of krokodil and urging them not to experiment with any new drugs. Although impending amputation is enough of a deterrent to dissuade most, some addicts who are heavy in their addictions are most liable to become victims.