Borderland DEA watching for new flesh-eating zombie drug
Updated: Friday, October 25 2013, 06:48 PM MDT
By: Stephanie Guadian
El PASO, Texas-
It’s been nicknamed the flesh-eating zombie drug. One look at the photos of people who have taken Krokodil -- or Crocodile -- and it's easy to see where the name comes from. Addicts suffer scaly skin, sores and lesions that can lead to amputation.
While it's new to the U.S., use of the drug is reportedly rampant in Russia.
Dr. Salvador Baeza works at the West Texas Regional Poison Center.
“It's derived from codeine, which is available over the counter in Russia. Here in the United States is available by prescription,” said Baeza.
The heroin knockoff is cheaper to make and can be ten times more potent that morphine. The process of making Krokodil is similar to making meth.
“It uses the same type of chemicals. You are using gasoline or paint thinner. Iodine, red phosphors from the match tips,” said Baeza.
The scientific name is desomorphine, a synthetic opiate. After using it, a person's muscles, tendons and bones can become exposed.
“Even though you may be injecting in one part of your body.. The gasoline, the paint thinner and hydrochloric acid is going throughout your body and you may see lesions in other parts of your body where you didn't inject,” said Baeza.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of Krokodil use in the U.S. --- suspected symptoms have been reported in Illinois, Arizona and Oklahoma.
In the Borderland, DEA agents are looking out for it. They are also hoping the horrific images of people who have taken Krokodil will convince people to stay away from what some are calling the most dangerous drug in the world.
The DEA’s Diana Apodaca has a warning. “Of course, the person selling it to you is going to tell you the positives only. What they think are the positives. When you see these pictures -- it's obvious these people have become overtaken by drugs and ruined their lives,” said Apodaca.
If you are worried about your unused, unwanted or expired medications falling into the wrong hands, you can drop them off for safe disposal Saturday. The West Texas Regional Poison center is holding a medication cleanout event in El Paso from 10 am to 2 pm. It's being held right across the street from the entrance to the UMC associate parking garage on 4625 Alberta.