Residents, law enforcement officials, health care providers, and poison control center employees in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are facing a new and bizarre threat in the form of “Krokodil,” a lethal home brewed substitute for heroin, which is already popular in Russia. The drug has made some appearances in Pittsburgh, though it is unclear exactly how widespread its use may be.
Krokodil: A Drug Even More Dangerous Than Heroin
Like heroin, krokodil is usually injected by users. It gets its ominous name from the effect that it has on addicts. Users of the drug often develop green scales on their skin, not unlike the skin that appears on a crocodile. The drug is extremely addictive and dangerous, and the life expectancy for a person using krokodil is as as short as two years from the first time of use. Individuals who exhibit the tell tale green scales on their skin are being tested for the illicit drug, but drug testing may be a fairly futile endeavor in attempting to gauge the scope of the drug’s influence on the city. By the time an individual has been hospitalized or exhibits scales, their body may very well have metabolized the potent drug’s psychoactive agent, desomorphine.
Heroin Still Primary Focus of Drug Enforcement Officials
Heroin, particularly in the greater Pittsburgh region, is in and of itself fairly inexpensive and easy to procure. This leads many officials to believe that krokodil may never come to dominance as the primary drug used by heroin and other opiate addicts. Officials are warning the public of the occurrence of users with krokodile in their systems because of the fact that the drug is indeed so dangerous and lethal. Many authorities believe that users may be sold the drug when they are intending to buy heroin.
Pittsburgh Not the First Area to Be Worried About Krokodil Outbreak
To date, there have been no officially confirmed cases of usage of the drug in the United States, but this again may be attributed to the fact that testing for the drug can be difficult, given the pace at which it is metabolized by the body. Law enforcement and healthcare officials in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois all believe that they have witnesses instances of the home brewed drug being consumed either intentionally or unintentionally by users.
Possible Reasons For the Outbreak of the Drug
Many experts speculate that the drug may have originally come into popularity in Russia because of the fact that in Russia heroin is rather expensive and difficult to obtain. It is unclear why or how the drug was brought from Russia to the United States, but home brewed versions of heroin and other black market drugs is certainly not a new phenomena. It may even be the case that the drug officials are seeing a rise in use of is not krokodil exactly, but another crude version of an already highly toxic drug.
Drugs Like Krokodil Expose Body to High Levels of Toxicity
When a person injects a drug like Krokodil, they are essentially injecting red phosphorous and other highly dangerous solvents into their bodies. The body, unable to flush the toxins, literally rots because of the chemicals coursing through it. This is what causes the green scaly regions so often associated with this and similar drugs. In Russia, krokodile is presumed to be constructed using a truly terrifying cocktail of ingredients. Generally, the formula is believed to be comprised of codeine, along with gasoline, phosphorus, and other highly risky substances. Under no circumstances are these substances fit for human consumption, and this terrifying trend has many doctors and addiction specialists concerned.