A street drug called krokodil or crocodile has made its way to the United States. Its real name is desomorphine and it is similar to morphine and heroin. Krokodil gets its street name from the fact that it turns users' skin scaly and causes rough patches to break out all over the body. It also eats its victims alive, just like a crocodile.
Although krokodil is new to the United States, it has been around for several years and originated in Russia. Users found that it was cheaper than meth but had similar effects. It can also be made with simple ingredients.
Two cases of people addicted to the drug have been reported in Arizona. "As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Arizona, as quoted by Fox News. "So we're extremely frightened."
The drug is injected into the body with a needle. The skin around the injection site can immediately start to turn rough and scaly as it breaks down and begins to decay. Gangrene can easily set in and many addicts have to have amputations just a few years after they start using the drug.
Krokodil is so damaging that even those who are able to recover from addiction and stop taking the drug can be left permanently disfigured and scarred. Aside from cosmetic damage, many users lose control of their motor skills and develop speech problems.
"This is really frightening," Dr. Aaron Skolnik, a toxicologist at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix, told Fox News. "This is something we hoped would never make it to the U.S. because it's so detrimental to the people who use it."
Image from Wikimedia Commons.