heroin and krokodil

Krokodil Reported All Over but Not Confirmed

krokodil flesh rotting drug
Krokodil Cases – Photo Via 

With all of the recent reports of krokodil in the US, why are they still just “reported” but not confirmed?

Krokodil is a street drug first concocted in Russia from mixing codeine with lighter fluid and other household chemicals. It is 3 times cheaper than heroin but reportedly 3 times as potent and lasts half as long – making it extremely addictive. It is injected into the skin and quickly causes flesh to rot and fall off, exposing bone and causing gangrene. It is extremely hard to treat and often leads to amputations and death.

Two weeks ago, the first reports of Krokodil use popped up in Arizona, when two men were treated for flesh rotting symptoms in an emergency room. Toxicology reports from the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center that reported it have yet to surface – making it all still “speculation.”

Since then a poison control center in Oklahoma says that two men who died last November may have been victims of krokodil. Justin McGee, 33 and his friend came to a Duncan, OK emergency room with severe wounds and treated in the burn unit until they died. At McGee’s funeral, friends told his sister in law that he and his friend had been using the drug after finding the recipe for krokodil on the internet.

However, it is impossible to confirm whether it was krokodil– especially 11 months post mortem and his autopsy report showed he tested negative for desomorphine, the active ingredient in krokodil. The problem is desomorphine leaves the body quickly and doctors often aren’t able to confirm it in time with blood or urine tests.

Then last week Fox News Chicago reported krokodil surfaced in Will County where three women and two men between the ages of 22 and 32 were admitted into Presence St, Joseph Medical Center for green scaly scabs and rotting flesh. The victims reported that they bought what they thought was heroin and then a week later started experiencing symptoms. According to the attending Addiction Medicine Specialist, Dr. Abhin Singla, “By the time she came in the hospital, she had 70-80% almost burns, they were really gangrene from the inside of the body burnt, gangrene, out.”

Adding to this story are the anecdotal accounts of drug dealers pushing these drugs in Manhattan nightclubs like Le Bain. These reports are still questionable, as the average drink price at le Bain costs $15 whereas the lure of krokodil is that it is a cheap alternative to heroin – a “poor mans drug.”

The problem is that, like the reports in Illinois, people aren’t intentionally purchasing krokodil, but they are buying what they believe is heroin. This is especially dangerous for those in the throws of their addiction who don’t have the clarity to ascertain the difference between the two drugs or know exactly what they are buying. Unfortunately addiction often overrules the part of the brain responsible for logic that would normally put people on high alert about a flesh-rotting drug.

The jury is still out on whether or not these cases are in fact krokodil and it is expected that such stories will continue to surface. The best thing to do is to warn loved ones about experimenting with new drugs and to inform those in throws of their addiction about the consequences of krokodil. It is often said fear is rarely a deterrent for those heavy into their addiction but hopefully the flesh-rotting outcome of krokodil will serve as a preventive.

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