Law enforcement has been battling the drug war against new street drugs such as "bath salts" and now they have a new drug to fight. And this drug eats flesh.
Krokodil, Russian for “crocodile,” is a street drug that's a cheap substitute for heroin. The drug is referred to as “krokodil” because it causes sores, tissue damage and rough, scale-like appearance on the skin. It's also dubbed the "Zombie" drug as it's users actually look like zombies.
On Thursday, media outlets reported two cases in Arizona involved the drug at the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. Law enforcement and medical personnel are concerned the use of krokodil might spread.
Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Poison, Drug and Information Center tells ABC, “This is up there as one of the craziest new trends I’ve seen,” he said. “We’ve known about it in Russia, and we’ve known what it has done there. It’s really decimated whole cities there.”
Krokodil is made up of different ingredients purchased at home improvement stores and pharmacies. The base of the drug is usually codeine. The other chemical ingredients vary.
LoVecchio says, “They’ve used things like hydrochloric acid. Some have used paint thinners, gasoline and other stuff that includes phosphorous.”
The acidity of the chemicals causes the body’s fat and skin to “burn off and die,” LoVecchio said.
Leslie Bloom, CEO of DrugFreeAZ.org, says, “We don’t want the public to be alarmed. What we want them to be is aware that this is a trend. There are other drug trends, too, that we see from time to time, especially with the synthetic drugs. This is a good reminder and a teaching moment.”