DEA Debunks Krokodil Sightings

Since September officials
around the country have been
sightings of krokodil, the notorious homemade
desomorphine concoction that produces, along with a heroin-like
high, gruesome pictures of necrotic flesh, caused by a combination
of corrosive contaminants and unsanitary injection habits. A week
and a half ago, for instance, Brian Brady, the interim police chief
of Dillon, Colorado,
the city council his officers had come across krokodil on
the streets of the tiny Summit County town. ““We’re seeing a trend
big time,” he claimed. A reader posted a link to that story on
Facebook, accompanied by a one-word comment: “Bullshit.” The Drug
Enforcement Administration
seems to agree

DEA is aware of and tracking the nationwide reports of alleged
abuse of the controlled substance desomorphine that is found in the
drug krokodil, a homemade substitute for heroin invented and used
in rural Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. 

DEA is investigating the matter by acquiring samples alleged to
contain desomorphine, interviewing drug abusers, and monitoring
intelligence reports. To date, none of our forensic laboratories
has analysed an exhibit found to contain desomorphine. A sample
sent to our Chicago forensic laboratory that was suspected to be
krokodil was actually heroin.

As the International Business Times notes, “Experts
have said it is unlikely the drug has even really left Russia, as
it is only used by people in remote parts of the country where
heroin has become too expensive or unavailable—it is turned to as a
last resort among addicts.” Russian junkies resorted to krokodil
because 1) heroin was hard to come by and 2) codeine, which can be
converted into desomorphine using common chemicals, was available
over the counter. Since neither of those things is true in the
United States, it hardly seems plausible that krokodil would appeal
to American drug users. What seems to be happening is that cops,
primed to think krokodil would be coming soon to their
jurisdictions, are attributing yucky skin conditions associated
with careless heroin injection practices to the exotic
“flesh-eating drug.”

American krokodil apparently belongs in the same chimerical
category as candy-flavored
, another drug scare the DEA helped debunk. Sadly, American
journalists are so eager to hype the drug menace du jour that they
make the DEA sound like the voice of calm reason.

Last month Brian Doherty
the lack of evidence that krokodil was catching on in the
United States, and I
that the drug’s special hazards are entirely attributable
to prohibition.

from Hit & Run

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