A flesh-eating street drug initially seen in Russia has been reported for the first time in the U.S.
The heroin-like drug, chemically called desomorphine, is known on the street as “krokodil.”
The first U.S. cases recently surfaced in Phoenix.
“We’ve had two cases this past week that have occurred in Arizona,” Dr. Frank LoVecchio, of the Banner Poison Control Center, told KLTV. “As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we’re extremely frightened.”
Desomorphine is considered highly addictive and gives users a more powerful high than heroin for much less money, according to a Time magazine investigation.
“Krokodil” is particularly popular and equally hard to control because it can easily be made at home from codeine pills that are then mixed with iodine, paint thinner, gasoline, alcohol or oil, the magazine reported.
The effects of the drug are catastrophic for the user.
The drug ruptures blood vessels causing the skin to rot from the inside out and literally fall off the bone, according to Time.
Users can lose entire limbs, suffer paralysis, organ failure and ultimately death.
A user’s average life expectancy is two to three years, according to Time.