November 20, 2013

Krokodil Has Arrived In Canada

Over the past year there has been a great deal of press covering the story of Krokodil, a deadly new drug that has found itself on the streets of Russia and the United States. Now it has reached Canadian streets with reports coming from its use in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Produced crudely from codeine tablets and gasoline, paint thinners or lighter fluid, the drug serves as a cheap replacement for heroin users. Costing only one-tenth of heroin, the drug has been spreading rapidly, as do its long-term side effects that leave users with scaly green skin and gangrene conditions. For krokodil users, life expectancy can be less than just 2 years.

Also known as desomorphine, the drug was patented in the 1930s and marketed in Switzerland as a painkiller under the brand name Permonid. Those in the pharmaceutical industry claim that desomorphine isn’t responsible for the “rotting from the inside-out” effect of krokodil, but rather crude chemists.

Health workers in southeastern Ontario say they’re seeing cases of the flesh-eating drug on the streets and Niagara Regional Police say they’re dealing with two cases connected to the street drug. In the last two weeks, two men in St. Catharines have been hospitalized with sores on their bodies from using krokodil, CHCH reports, and there is another reported case in Niagara Falls.

“The one gentleman described it he felt like there was a burning coming from the inside out. And it left holes all over his arms.” said Brenda Horton of the Drug Treatment Centre.

Outreach worker Rhonda Thompson told CHCH that her staff have been on high alert. “Ever since oxycontin went off the market, it’s turned into the wild west out there.”





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