Converting Heroin Tar into "Monkey Water" for Administration through the Nasal Cavities, Rectum, or Veins. (Photo : Psychonaught / Creative Common)
Krokodil, a flesh-eating drug that first surfaced in Russia over a decade ago, has reportedly surfaced in the United States.
The drug is referred to as "krokodil," which means "crocodile" in Russian, because once injected, the drug causes blood vessels to rupture and kills off surrounding tissues which makes the users skin turn greenish, rough and scale-like.
The effects of taking krokodil are similar to heroin, however it's much cheaper to make and involves iingredients that are easy to access at home improvement or pharmacies. It is made by mixing codeine with substances like gasoline, paint thinner, oil or alcohol. That mixture is then injected into a vein, eventually causing an addict's skin to rot away.
Two cases involving the drug have surfaced at the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix.
"This is up there as one of the craziest new trends I've seen," Dr. Frank LoVecchio, the co-medical director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Arizona, told ABC News. "We've known about it in Russia, and we've known what it has done there. It's really decimated whole cities there."
He added, "Some of the chemicals they've used are very dangerous. They've used things like hydrochloric acid. Some have used paint thinners, gasoline and other stuff that includes phosphorous."
Users of krokodil - or desomorphine - had previously only been found in large numbers in Russia, where 65 million doses of the opiate were seized during the first three months of 2011, according to Russia's Federal Drug Control Service.
"This is really frightening," Dr. Aaron Skolnik, a toxicologist at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center told MyFoxPhoenix.com. "This is something we hoped would never make it to the U.S. because it's so detrimental to the people who use it."
In 2010, the drug became an epidemic as up to 1 million people were injecting the resulting substance into their veins in Russia. According to reports, the drug first appeared in Siberia and parts of Russia around 2002, but has spread throughout the country in recent years.