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Flesh-Eating Krokodil Drug Is In Our Midst, And It’s Very, Very Scary

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Marisa Kabas

By Marisa Kabas on October 17, 2013

Sunday night I made a jarring discovery: Krokodil — the horrifying, highly-addictive, flesh-eating, designer drug — had reached the island of Manhattan and was being peddled at two clubs, one of which I was at Saturday night.

Westway and Le Bain, the former of which I went to, reported instances of Krokodil being sold. Westway is a smoky, crowded club, nestled on the West Side Highway, and its patrons are yuppie, early twenty-somethings who hardly fit the profile of intravenous drug users.

As a former leader of Youth Decide, a high school club where you sign a contract promising to not get doped up or drunk for the entire school year, my fear and disdain for drugs is well-documented. No longer a fearful 16-year-old, I simply cannot wrap my head around recreational drug use, particularly when it MELTS OFF YOUR SKIN.

And the fact that an extremely fringe substance is being made available in extremely mainstream locales is unsettling to say the least.

Krokodil isn’t new: reports of the insane drug surfaced stateside in 2011, and its been used recreationally in Russia since 2002. But really, the drug — technically known as desomorphine — has its roots in ‘Murrica, where it was developed as an alternative to morphine in 1932. The current street version is a cocktail of codeine and other fun ingredients like paint thinner, gasoline and/or hydrochloric acid. Neat!

But I wasn’t the only one shocked to find Krokodil in my midst: Amber Nietzel, 26, and Angie Nietzel, 29, sisters in the Brady Bunch of heroin addicts, thought they were having good, clean heroin fun, when parts of their skin appeared corroded and scaly, and they discovered their beloved smack was actually Krokodil.

It’s disturbing to hear that even heroin addicts are disturbed by the krok, and the Neitzel sisters are pleading with potential users to think again, given the life expectancy of users is two years.

While heroin is obviously an incredibly harmful drug, it is not as dangerous and eminently fatal as its Russian cousin, and it’s probably scary for avid heroin users when they hear the stories coming out of Illinois and Arizona. Maybe time to stop shooting up?

Substituting one drug for a faux and more dangerous substance is nothing new. This video compares it to the “fake pot” situation sweeping the nation and gives a little background of the chemistry involved:

So basically, you’re playing the drug equivalent of extra-high-stakes Russian roulette (pun intended.) Makes me yearn for a simpler time, when my biggest concern was bath salts.

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