Fears deadly Russian flesh-eating drug Krokodil is spreading in Australia after user is tested for arm infection
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- There are fears flesh-eating drug could spread after a man injected it in NSW
- He went to a rural drug and alcohol clinic after taking the powerful drug
- His arm had become infected after taking it, turning his skin scaly and green
There are fears a Russian flesh-eating drug could spread across Australia after a man’s arm became infected when he injected it in New South Wales.
The drug ‘Krokodil,’ which is a street name for desomorphine, is a semi-synthetic narcotic that’s more powerful than heroin.
It gets its name because it causes black and green scales to form on users’ skin at the spot where they inject it.
The man recently went to a drug and alcohol clinic in rural NSW after his arm became infected from using the drug, the ABC reported.
The drug ‘Krokodil’ is a semi-synthetic narcotic that’s more powerful than heroin and gets its name because it causes black and green scales to form on users’ skin
Long-term Krokodil users can fall victim to swollen veins, blood clots, memory loss, speech problems, loss of sleep and gangrene
Users generally inject Krokodil, but it can also be swallowed and takes just three minutes to kick in before delivering a high that lasts for around two hours.
But until now, the powerful drug had never been found in Australia.
In 2016, police and health professionals said no use of Krokodil had been reported, despite media outlets quoting senior police sources who said it was only a matter of time until it found its way to Australia.
Widespread use of the drug would have grave effects, as it can be produced by making a mixture of common supermarket products including painkillers and lighter fluid.
Anyone looking for a cheap high can make the drug at home by combining paint thinner, petrol, red tips of matches or drugs that contain codeine.
Doctors estimate a user’s life expectancy drops to just over two years when they begin taking the drug.
Krokodile users who inject the substance can suffer horrifying symptoms such as their blood vessels bursting and their skin turning green and rotting away.
Long-term users can expect swollen veins, blood clots, memory loss, speech problems, loss of sleep and gangrene.
Krokodile users who inject the substance can suffer horrifying symptoms such as their blood vessels bursting and their skin turning green and rotting away (pictured)
Desomorphine was first synthesised in the United States in 1932, when scientists tested the effects of morphine on rats. Cancer patients were given the drug to see if it could lessen their pain.
The use of desomorphine in the form of Krokodi wasn’t reported until 2003 in Russia, where it became popular with drug users because they couldn’t get the prescriptions needed to acquire codeine.
Use of the deadly drug in Russia has declined in recent years, but it remains widespread across the US and the United Kingdom.
WHAT IS KROKODIL?
Krokodil’s medical name is desomorphine, and it is created by mixing codeine with gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous
It gets its name because it causes black and green scales to form on users’ skin at the place where they inject it
There are reportedly nearly three million users in Russia, and the epidemic began in Siberia and the Russian Far East
The drug causes flesh to rot from the inside out and the addict’s skin becomes scaly like a crocodile’s, hence the name
Blood vessels burst and the surrounding tissue dies. Gangrene and amputations are a common result and sometimes bone can be exposed
Users generally inject the drug, but it can also be swallowed, and takes just three minutes to kick in before lasting around two hours
The drug is three times cheaper to produce than heroin