Unconfirmed Reports of Krokodil Abuse in U.S. — Physician’s First Watch
Unconfirmed Reports of Krokodil Abuse in U.S.
By Kelly Young
Physicians in the Chicago area suspect that the street drug krokodil, pronounced and occasionally spelled "crocodile," has reached their region after a handful of people were identified with symptoms consistent with its abuse, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Suspected cases have also been reported in Arizona and Oklahoma, according to CNN. Federal officials, however, say there have been no confirmed cases in the U.S.
The injectible drug is a homemade version of desomorphine that's made using corrosive substances, such as lighter fluid or cleaning products, to dissolve codeine tables. The drug necrotizes tissue, sometimes leading to green, scaly-looking lesions, not unlike a crocodile.
Krokodil abuse is widespread in Russia and the Ukraine, where it's a cheap alternative to heroin.
Rich Saitz, an addiction medicine specialist with Physician's First Watch, said: "When the latest abused drug gets attention, it can distract us from the more mundane but harmful effects of alcohol and other commonly abused substances. Nonetheless, it is helpful to be aware of new drugs of abuse ... to help us identify and ... treat substance use disorders."