First cases of flesh-eating drug reported in AZ - WNEM TV 5

First cases of flesh-eating drug reported in AZ

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LoVecchio points out an image that shows a Krokodil user's leg. LoVecchio points out an image that shows a Krokodil user's leg.

Banner's Poison Control Center says the two first cases of people using a drug that can rot flesh have been reported in Arizona.

"We've had two cases this past week that have occurred in Arizona," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, the co-medical director at Banner's Poison Control Center. 

"As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we're extremely frightened," he continued.

The drug is known as Krokodil, and it's extremely popular in Russia. Users mix codeine with hydrocarbons, like gasoline, oil or alcohol. The mixture is then filtered and boiled before being injected into the vein. LoVecchio says users end up injecting fuel into their bodies.

"They extract [the drug] and even though they believe that most of the oil and gasoline is gone, there is still remnants of it. You can imagine just injecting a little bit of it into your veins can cause a lot of damage," he said. 

In fact, what ends up happening is the flesh can rot from the inside out. Some users even develop sores that resemble alligator skin, hence the name of the drug.

"When [drug users] do it repeatedly, the skin sloughs. It causes hardening of their skin. It will cause necrosis," explained LoVecchio.

LoVecchio believes the two cases reported in Arizona are linked, but he couldn't elaborate on the patients' conditions. He says he hopes the trend does not continue to spread.

"Where there is smoke there is fire, and we're afraid there are going to be more and more cases," he said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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