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

Meet the undocumented migrants who cleaned up this town after Hurricane Sandy: http://t.co/a5dax6WEN9 18 hours 32 min ago
October's almost over! Time to start thinking about your Sidney Award applications: http://t.co/DHStM9kfOR 1 day 18 hours ago
.@TheCurrentCBC What piece of Canadian journalism would you nominate for a 2015 Hillman? http://t.co/KIk6siHO43 1 day 19 hours ago
.@KateHarding What's your favorite piece of socially conscious Canadian journalism from 2014? Nominate it! http://t.co/KIk6siHO43 1 day 20 hours ago
Nominate your favorite piece of Canadian Journalism for a 2015 Hillman Prize! http://t.co/KIk6siHO43 1 day 20 hours ago