Russian Flesh-Eating Drug Hits US
A decade-old flesh eating drug has made the jump from Russia to the United States, with disastrous results, according to recent news reports. The drug, called "krokodil," the Russian word for "Crocodile," is used as a low-cost substitute for heroin. It acquired that nickname because it turns the user's skin into a scaly mass of sores and rough spots-the user ends up looking like they have crocodile skin. "This is up there as one of the craziest new trends I've seen," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Poison, Drug and Information Center. "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 from many low-cost ingredients that can be easily found at home improvement centers and over-the-counter at pharmacies. The base of the drug is usually codeine, found in certain cough syrups. But the combination of substances in Krokodil can have disastrous effects. "Some of the chemicals they've used are very dangerous," LoVecchio said. "They've used things like hydrochloric acid. Some have used paint thinners, gasoline and other stuff that includes phosphorous."
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