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DEA Says It Is Not Seeing Cases of Krokodil


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says it has not seen evidence of the flesh-eating drug krokodil surfacing in the United States, despite reports in Arizona and Illinois of people using the drug.

“We, the DEA, are not seeing cases of it,” agency spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told “Nothing’s been turned into any of our labs. As far as the DEA is concerned, we have not seen any cases.”

Last week, doctors at a suburban Chicago hospital reported they are treating three people who used krokodil, a caustic, homemade heroin-like drug that can rot flesh and bone. Last month, Arizona health officials reported two cases of people who used the drug.

The drug became popular in Russia about 10 years ago as a cheap replacement for heroin. It costs about three times less than heroin, and produces a similar, but much shorter, high.

Krokodil is made from over-the-counter codeine-based headache pills, mixed with gasoline, paint thinner, alcohol or iodine. When a person injects the drug, it destroys tissue, and turns the skin scaly and green, giving it a crocodile-like appearance. The drug can also cause blood poisoning, festering sores and abscesses.

4 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Randall Webber
    Randall Webber / November 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    The DEA has only seen desomorphine (pure desomorphine, not home made “krokodil”) twice in the US, and that was in 2004. On October 27, the krokodil rumor was effectively shot down in a Chicago Tribune article that quoted the DEA as saying that a five-state investigation had yielded not one sample of krokodil, but that “all of it [the samples they collected] was heroin”.

    This is not just a case of an unsubstantiated media rumor gone wild; this is about the the substance abuse field loosing precious credibility. Those who have perpetuating this rumor in the face of early evidence of its falsehood have now cast themselves in the role of the boy who cried wolf. What we will do when a real threat comes along?

  2. Avatar of Charles
    Charles / October 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I think we want to be VERY careful here. We don’t want to panic. But this is a vicious drug and because it hasn’t hit the Feds labs or because (Heroin) is cheap and relatively plentiful in one place doesn’t mean it is not in another. Or perhaps was simply missed.

  3. Avatar of deb
    deb / October 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I think the Death needs to open their eyes.

  4. Randall Webber / October 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Those of us who follow street drug patterns have been skeptical all along. With heroin so cheap and pure in Chicago, why would anyone use “krokodil”? My guess is that the medical complications are due to injection issues, such as a form of bacteria spread by dirty needles.

    Thanks for posting this!

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