What is Krokodil?

Krokodil or desomorphine is a homemade, heroin-like drug with gruesome side effects.  It is believed that the injectable opioid which originated in Russia around 2002 may have since found its way to the US.  Cases have recently been reported by health care providers in Arizona and Oklahoma with symptoms similar to those of patients that have used Krokodil in other countries.

Inexpensive to produce Krokodil is made from a toxic mixture that can contain alcohol, paint-thinner, gasoline and codeine.  Krokodil use can lead to greenish scaly skin, as well as bone and tooth disintegration. Most notably it is known as the drug that can cause rotting flesh and eventually lead to death.  Loss of skin, infection and gangrene are common causes of death, which typically occurs within two years of regular use.  Infection typically occurs near the injection site, and while the drug does not completely dissolve in the blood it can also gather and begin to decay tissue in other parts of the body.  According to a study that ran in the International Journal of Drug Policy, an estimated 100,000 people in Russia and around 20,000 people in Ukraine are estimated to have injected the drug in 2011.*  Although the drug is not yet confirmed in the US, health care providers are encouraged to be aware of the threat.

For more information about Krokodil/desmorphine click here to read the DEA fact sheet.

* http://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959%2813%2900051-0/abstract

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