St. Louis hospital says man used flesh-eating drug

Friday, November 15, 2013 | 10:56 a.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Doctors say a flesh-eating homemade drug popular in Russia has reached St. Louis.

The drug is known as krokodil. It reportedly produces a high similar to heroin but is more addictive.

Doctors at St. Mary's Health Center say they have treated a patient with severe leg sores caused by use of the drug, which can turn the skin into a green and scaly texture when injected. Eventually, the drug can cause the skin to rot and cause damage to tissues and bones.

Krokodil is made by cooking prescription painkillers with gasoline, paint thinner, lighter fluid or similar items. Confirming use of the drug is difficult because there is no diagnostic test.

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Mark Foecking November 15, 2013 | 2:31 p.m.

It's called "desomorphine" and it's a form of codeine that has been reduced in the same way street chemists reduce pseudoephedrine into meth. The "green and scaly texture" is not due to the drug per se, but to the impurities that haven't been removed from the drug.

It's easy to make a drug (or other desired chemical). What's much harder is making it pure.


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