Krokodil (aka desomorphine), a street drug used as a cheap substitute for heroin which has been, literally, eating its way through drug users throughout Russia for more than ten years has made its first appearance in the Phoenix area recently. The diagnosis of two cases (so far) has raised alarms within Arizona, especially among medical personnel and anti-drug advocates who fear that use of the drug may spread locally as well as in other parts of the country.
According to Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Poison, Drug and Information Center medical, while the base of Krokodil (Russian for crocodile) is made from pure codeine extracted from pills, chemicals such as gasoline, paint thinners, hydrochloric acid, and even phosphorus are then used to turn it into an injectible liquid.”
“Some of the chemicals they’ve used are very dangerous,” LoVecchio said. “The acidity of the chemicals causes the body’s fat and skin to burn off and die, leaving sores, tissue damage and rough, scale-like appearance on the skin.”
The chemicals also leave the body extremely vulnerable to severe infection, resulting in death within two years for those who use the drug daily.