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Flesh-eating drug Krokodil emerges in US

12:30 Sat Sep 28 2013
There have also been reports of skin falling off following use, leaving exposed bones.
The drug got its nickname from the Russian world for crocodile, because users tend to develop scale-like, green skin. (Supplied)

The first reported cases a homemade drug which eats people's flesh from the inside and leaves users with reptilian-like skin have emerged in the US.

Benner's Poison Control Centre medical director Frank LoVecchio told KPHO that his centre treated two users of the dangerous drug in the past week.

"As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we're extremely frightened," he said.

The new moonshine drug Krokodil continues to gain popularity in Russia for its heroin-like effect at a third of the price.

Krokodil, real name desomorphone, like heroin, has a sedative and analgesic effect.

The homemade drug is a toxic cocktail of codine, iodine, petrol, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, lighter fluid and phosphorus, which is then filtered and boiled before being injected into the vein.

"They extract [the drug] and even though they believe that most of the oil and gasoline is gone, there is still remnants of it," Dr LoVecchio said.

"You can imagine just injecting a little bit of it into your veins can cause a lot of damage."

The drug was recently thrust into the spotlight as the focus of a VICE documentary in Novokuznetsk, Russia, where it is reported some 20 percent of the population are addicted to heroin or krokodil.

It has been found in other European countries as well, according to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

The drug got its nickname from the Russian word for crocodile due to the scale-like, green skin its users develop.

The average user does not live longer than two to three years and have been known to suffer from symptoms such as ruptured blood vessels, abscesses and gangrene.

Video source: CNN