A homemade drug that causes severe damage to the flesh of those who use it has reportedly shown up in the U.S.
Previously reported in Russia, Krokodil, a disfiguring and potentially lethal mixture of codeine and hydrocarbons such as oil, paint thinner, gasoline or alcohol, has made its way to Arizona.
According to doctors at Banner Poison Control Center, two cases of the drug have been reported in the state in the past week.
“As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported... We're extremely frightened," Dr. Frank LoVecchio, the co-medical director at the center, told KLTV.
Users filter and boil the drug before injecting it. Although LoVecchio said users believe the process removes the impurities, they are wrong.
Once injected, the drug causes damage to blood vessels and tissue, causing flesh to rot from the inside out. The horrific sores that some users develop resemble crocodile skin, which lends the street drug its name. The average life expectancy of a krokodil user is about three years, according to KSAZ.
Disturbing images of the drug's grisly side-effects have been reported before. The images are said to have originated in Russia, where between a few hundred thousand and a million people injected the drug in 2010, according to Time.
LoVecchio told KLTV that the main attraction to the drug is the cost: It is reportedly 20 times cheaper than heroin, but produces a similar high. He believes that the two cases in Arizona may be related, according to Gawker.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has monitored krokodil -- also known as desomorphine -- since 2011.