Skip to Content
Skip to Navigation

Clear it with SidneyHow our blog got its name >

 
Notes on journalism for the common good
by Lindsay Beyerstein

Reports of U.S. "Krokodil" Epidemic Exaggerated

Breathless media claims about the stateside spread of a cut-rate heroin substitute known as "krokodil" may have been overblown, according to the Chicago Tribune. The drug is notorious for causing leathery skin lesions that can degenerate into gangrene. The lesions are caused by toxic byproducts of the synthesis of krokodil (desomorphine) from coedine, and maybe by residual traces of gasoline or other solvents used in the synthesis. 

Despite a handful of highly publicized case reports, there is little firm evidence that krokodil is being widely sold in the United States. The drug got its name from the skin lesions that heavy users develop around their injection sites. However, skin lesions are a perennial risk for all kinds of injection drug users, and some U.S. reports of "krokodil" lesions in heroin addicts turn out to be ordinary infections mistaken for krokodil toxicity. 

Krokodil caught on in Russia a decade ago because impoverished addicts were unable to afford heroin. Krokodil seems unlikely to catch on in the U.S. market because heroin is cheap and widely available. 

 

[Photo credit: Melissa, Creative Commons.]

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.
 
 

Recent Tweets

McDonald’s Is Charged With Punishing Workers , via @nytimes http://t.co/zIRZZ6BGB4 1 day 17 hours ago
RT @AblegReporter: Journo friends! The @SidneyHillman Foundation is accepting nominations for its Canadian prize! Check it out: http://t.c… 2 days 11 hours ago
Sidney's Picks: Tennessee Criminalizes Births by Addicts, Tragedy Ensues: http://t.co/tr3nBN5vhT @thenation @theifund 2 days 13 hours ago
Sidney's Picks: Harry Potter & The Hunger Games Fuel the Fight for $15: http://t.co/tr3nBN5vhT 2 days 13 hours ago
Get those 2015 Canadian Hillman applications in. $5000 prize. DL: Jan 9 http://t.co/CdYc33mGb5 3 days 9 hours ago