WASHINGTON, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – Despite reports in the United States about the notorious “flesh-eating” Russian street drug “krokodil” or “crocodile” spreading across the country, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) remains skeptical that it has surfaced in America, according to a story on FoxNews.com.
The first reports emerged in Arizona in September, and were rapidly followed by reports of cases in Illinois and claims that the drug was being sold in New York nightclubs. Three deaths have also been attributed to crocodile in Oklahoma, according to the technology and culture website The Verge.
But authorities remain doubtful, “We, the DEA, are not seeing cases of it,” a DEA spokeswoman told Fox News. “Nothing’s been turned into any of our labs.”
The drug acquired its name in Russia because its gangrenous effect can cause the skin of users to resemble that of a crocodile.
Used widely in Russia as a cheap alternative to heroin, it is produced by combining codeine with readily available industrial solvents and chemicals. Injected intravenously, it can cause the flesh to rot from the inside out at the site of the injection.
Two women in Joliet, Illinois claimed to be the first American users to go public about the drug’s effects in an interview with a local news website Sunday.
One of the women, Kim Neitzel, told the FrankfortPatch.com that the drug had rotted a rose tattoo off her left calf but also, “If you don’t got sores on the outside of your body, it don’t mean it don’t got a hold of you…It’s going after your organs."
Even so, the DEA is not actively investigating the reports from Illinois or the ones that surfaced last month in Arizona, Fox News reported.