Flesh-eating drug makes its way to the Southwest
Posted at: 10/04/2013 2:40 PM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4
A new drug called Krokodil gets users high like heroin, but can melt flesh right off the bone and drug experts say it could be making its way to Albuquerque.
Krokodil got its name from the rotting, green, scaly flesh it leaves behind. Two cases of the flesh-rotting drug were reported in one week by Banner Health in Phoenix.
"Where there's smoke, there's fire and we're scared there are going to be more and more cases," said Frank LoVecchio, the co-medical director at Banner's Poison Control Center to KPHO.
One viewer told KOB Eyewitness News 4 the drug is already in Albuquerque, but the DEA says they haven't seen it yet.
Kevin Abar with homeland security says it's only a matter of time before they do see it.
"We are preparing for it and we are ready to deal with it," Abar said. "But we have been very fortunate that we haven't seen that narcotic yet on our streets."
Just like the beginning of the meth craze, we're talking about a drug that's home cooked. Krokodil is a nasty cocktail that combines codeine with lighter fluid, gasoline paint thinner or alcohol.
But here's why law enforcement is bracing for a surge of this drug: it's ten times cheaper than heroin.
"You can imagine, just injecting a little into your skin can do major damage," LoVecchio said. "It eats you from the inside out."
The drug has been around for about ten years in Russia, where regular users die within two years of starting Krokodil.