COLUMBUS, Ohio — Krokodil, or the streetname for Desomorphine (dihydrodesoxymorphine), is a derivative from an opioid sedative and analgesic Morphine, and believed to be 8-10 times more potent. It was patented in 1932, and was used in Switzerland under the brand name Permonid. The drug was reported to have “flesh-eating” properties, causing open wounds around the injection site, that most of the time leads to gangrene and abscess, or worst amputation of a limb.
As krokodil made its way from Russia to the Southwest, and allegedly infiltrating Chicago, the flesh-eating drug might be injecting itself to blood vessels of the Midwest. Columbus, Ohio authorities revealed last Friday that they might have the first case of the said flesh-eating drug.
A homeless man in Ohio was discovered to have the tell-tale signs of krokodil use on his skin. Deputy Fire Chief Jim Davis told WBNS-TV last Friday, “The patient had a large, open wound and it is consistent with what we’ve been seeing or the trend when people use this type of medicine.”
According to Davis, the drug is possibly a concoction mix of codeine, gasoline, paint thinner, and alcohol, substances that is known to cause gangrene and abscess on skin, especially if injected.
Although the man’s case is the first case in Ohio region, Davis alerted his entire department to be vigilant enough and watch out for the said drug. The Ohio Poison Center authorities said that “only two other possible cases have shown up in the state, but neither were in Columbus.”
Amber Neitzel, a reported krokodil user, described the effects of krokodil. He said, “It almost starts like a burn from a cigarette. It starts purple and then goes into a blister after five or six days.”
Dr. Abhin Singla, one of the doctors who treated allegedly krokodil user in Joliet, Illinois describes his patient and said that, “You literally start rotting from the inside out. It’s a horrific way to get sick. Intensive treatment and skin grafts are required, but they are often not enough to save limbs or lives.”
But despite all fear, Davis told that the biggest issue is “the fact that anybody who uses needles in some type of drug situation is highly suspected of other highly contagious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV.”
Similar cases of homemade morphine derivative were reported at Arizona, Illinois and Oklahoma but up to this date, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has not confirmed the presence of Krokodil in United States. Authorities in Arizona reported the alleged first case of the country, but DEA didn’t confirm the presence of krokodil and said that lab test shows it was just heroine.
But despite the assurance of agencies that the drug is not in the United States, many people remain skeptical and fear that the drug is just lurking around and might hit the public anytime.
Related story: Flesh-Eating Drug ‘Krokodil’ Hits U.S.