A synthetic form of heroin made with mixing codeine with a kitchen sink variety of other substances popular in Russia and the Ukraine has made its way to American shores. The appearance of the injectable drug, “Krokodil” has been discovered by physicians who treated a patient suffering from a flesh-eating reaction to using the product.
Krokodil is popular in the Eastern Europe and Northern Asian countries as opiates are harder to come by. The drug is crafted using non-traditional drug products such as gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid and other chemicals that is later mixed with the narcotic, codeine. The chemicals give codeine characteristics similar to opiates such as heroin, and are often made in homemade labs.
Despite some physicians saying that Krokodil is not an impending epidemic, two doctors in Missouri have determined otherwise through the study of a 30-year-old man that confirms earlier fears.
Doctors Dany Thekkemuriyil and Unnikrishnan Pillai treated a user in December in the emergency room of SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights, who had been using Krokodil for eight months prior to being seen.
“We saw that his finger fell off and we saw a severe looking ulcer and sores on his thigh and it did really fit the picture of Krokodil,” Thekkemuriyil said to KTVI-TV in St. Louis. The doctors reported their findings to the American Journal of Medicine in February “Our case is the first case that’s been published in a recognized medical journal.”
Krokodil, also know as desomorphine, can cause extensive tissue damage, and cause infections that turn soft tissue into decomposing flesh similar to gangrene at the injection sites.
“The damage was more severe compared to a regular IV drug user,” Pillai said. “We want to keep it from spreading across our community. It eats people from the inside, it kills people from the inside literally.”
Known as a “zombie drug” in Russia, 100,000 people were reported to have used the drug in 2011. In America, several cases have been reported in Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, and Oklahoma that all share a similarity to what Pillai and Thekkemuriyil have seen.
Check the following pages for pictures of the drug’s flesh-eating side effects. A warning: the images may be disturbing. Also featured in the gallery is an earlier news report regarding Krokodil.
Photos: American Journal Of Medicine, KTVI, Las Vegas Guardian, ABC.AU