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Flesh-Rotting Drug 'Desomorphine' Found in Arizona

Sep 27, 2013 08:59 AM EDT
Desomorphine- the flesh eating drug- has now surfaced in Chicago. Health authorities in the state suspect that at least three people have used desomorphine. (not pictured)
(Photo : Reuters )

Desomorphine, a drug that eats away flesh, has now emerged in the U.S. The first two suspected cases of the drug-use in the country were recently reported in Arizona.

Desomorphine is a drug that's several times more potent than morphine. The drug derives its common name- Krokodil- due to the way it affects users' bodies. Krokodil-users develop green, scaly lesions and their skin eventually begins to rot away.

Krokodil has been present in Russia for about a decade now. The newly reported cases have shocked health authorities as this is the first time that the drug has been found in the U.S.

The drug is made by codeine mixed with oil thinner, alcohol or gasoline. It is then injected into a vein, which leads to the skin turning green and scaly. If the user misses a vein and injects the drug in flesh, then abscess sets it, killing the flesh, reports Fox News. Gangrene and amputations are common in these people. However, getting-off a drug that gives the same feeling comparable to that of heroin at one-tenth of the price isn't easy.

"We've had two cases this past week that have occurred in Arizona," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, the co-medical director at Banner's Poison Control Center told CBS5. "As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we're extremely frightened."

According to USA Today, the two people who developed the symptoms are now hospitalized and authorities are waiting for lab-tests to confirm the presence of krokodil.

Desomorphine- The Drug that Rots its Users

The drug appeared in Russia somewhere in 2002 and by 2010, a few hundred to a million youngsters in the country were injecting the dirty cousin of morphine, according to an earlier report by TIME. In the first three months of 2012, Russian authorities had seized a staggering 65 million doses of krokodil.

Withdrawal symptoms of krokodil are nasty and severe than that of heroin. People giving up heroin might experience physical pain for five to 10 days. But, with krokodil, the pain can last for up to a month, the Independent had earlier reported.

Many krokodil addicts suffer from speech impairments and erratic movements even after staying-off of the drug. Life expectancy of a drug addict is about one year.

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