Clinical Lab Journal
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Deadly Krokodil Drug
Deadly Krokodil Drug: A flesh-eating powerful heroin-like drug that first surfaced in Russia over a decade ago has found its way to US shores, with poison control center officials confirming that two people in Arizona have been treated for using the substance.
Known on the street as “krokodil,” the caustic homemade opiate is made from over-the-counter codeine-based headache pills mixed with iodine, gasoline, paint thinner or alcohol. When it’s injected, the concoction destroys a user’s tissue, turning the skin scaly and green like a crocodile. Festering sores, abscesses and blood poisoning are common.
The drug — chemically called desomorphine — emerged around 2002 in Siberia and the Russian Far East but has swept across the country in just the past three years.
Krokodil became popular in Russia because heroin can be difficult to obtain and is expensive. Krokodil costs three times less, and the high is similar to heroin though much shorter, usually 90 minutes.
The average life expectancy among krokodil addicts in Russia is two to three years, thus called the narcotic the most horrible drug in the world. Gangrene and amputations are common, and the toxic mix dissolves jawbones and teeth.
As with all intravenous drug addicts, krokodil users are susceptible to HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases, and have compromised immune systems.
One recovering Russian krokodil addict stated, she injected the drug almost daily for six years. She has a speech impediment and impaired motor skills because of the resulting brain damage.
Her brother was among the dozen or so addicts she shot up with. Practically all of them are dead now. For some, it led to pneumonia, some got blood poisoning, some had an artery burst in their heart, some got meningitis, others simply rot.
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