Despite several addiction cases in Arizona, Illinois and Utah, the Drug Enforcement Administration is downplaying reports of the dangerous drug krokodil having reached U.S. soil.
Originating in Russia, Krokodil is created by mixing codeine, gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid and even the red phosphorous scraped from the tips of matches, filtering it and then injecting it into the body. The concoction can cause the flesh to eat away and leaves severe addicts with reptilian-like skin, hence the drug’s name, according to media reports.
In September, Banner Poison Control Center in Phoenix said two addicts arrived in emergency rooms with their flesh hanging off their body, the Daily Mail reported.
A Joliet, Ill., drug treatment physician also went public this week claiming that he’s seen as many as four users of the drug, Fox News reported.
Still, the DEA does not recognize the drug as an immediate threat.
“We, the DEA, are not seeing cases of it,” agency spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told Fox News. “Nothing’s been turned into any of our labs. As far as the DEA is concerned, we have not seen any cases.”
The DEA is not actively investigating the reports in Illinois or Arizona, Dearden said.
In 2011, DEA officials told Fox News that it was monitoring krokodil overseas, but had not verified its presence in the United States.
“We’re looking at it overseas, but we have not seen it yet in the U.S.,” DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said at the time. “But we would not be surprised when that day comes.”
Repeated use of Krokodil, whose medical name is desomorphine, causes blood vessels to burst, leaving skin green and scaly, the Daily Mail said.
According to Time magazine, “Gangrene and amputations are a common result, while porous bone tissue, especially in the lower jaw, often starts to dissipate, eaten up by the drug’s acidity.”
Nearly 2.5 million addicts in Russia have registered for treatment, and the average life span for a user is only two to three years.