DEA Downplays Krokodil Sightings | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

DEA Downplays Krokodil Sightings

As media hysteria grows, the drug agency tries to tamp down reports of the infamous flesh-eating synthetic heroin infesting the U.S.

Image: 

Reports about the zombie apocalypse have been greatly exaggerated.
Photo via Shutterstock

By Shawn Dwyer

11/27/13

| Share

Despite reports over the past few months of Krokodil sightings from Arizona to Ohio, the Drug Enforcement Agency has gone on record to debunk claims that addicts in the United States are using the notorious Russian drug. But that hasn’t stopped physicians and other law enforcement officers from making the claim that the so-called zombie drug has reached American shores. Just a couple of weeks ago, Brian Brady, an interim police chief in Dillon, CO, claimed to see an increase in drug-related arrests for LSD, heroin, and yes, Krokodil. “We’re seeing a trend big time and that’s what worries me about the marijuana thing,” Brady said. “I’m not necessarily opposed to [retail marijuana], but when people want a bigger high they tend to mix it with something,” Brady said. Meanwhile, two doctors in Missouri amplified the hysteria by claiming that they logged the first official Krokodil case in the U.S.

A synthetic heroin-like drug originating in Russia, Krokodil is the street name of desomorphine, a cheap homemade derivative of codeine mixed with a smorgasbord of chemicals like gasoline, lighter fluid, iodine, hydrochloric acid, and red phosphorous from matchbooks. When injected, the user feels a heroin-like high, but also experiences scaly green skin that resembles gangrene. Some users have had the gruesome misfortune of seeing their flesh rot to the bone. Because of the hysteria being generated by the reports, the DEA has moved in to squash the rumors that the lethal drug has arrived in the U.S. “DEA is investigating the matter by acquiring samples alleged to contain desomorphine, interviewing drug abusers, and monitoring intelligence reports. To date, none of our forensic laboratories has analyzed an exhibit found to contain desomorphine,” said spokesman Rusty Payne.

So what has been rotting away the flesh of intravenous drug users? According to Dr. Andrew Kolodny, chief medical adviser at the non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center Phoenix House, the cause is more common than people think. “This is not a new problem. Drug users are prone to skin infections and blood infections. There are serious medical infections that come from injecting drugs,” Kolodny said.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Suboxone: Trading One Prison Cell for Another

Suboxone seemed like a get-out-of-jail-free card, the answer to my opiate addiction. Instead, I had a new ten-year addiction, complete with thinning hair and lost motivation.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv