Wisconsin Officials Are On The Lookout For A Dangerous New Drug Called Krokodil
By Maureen McCollum
Monday, October 28, 2013, 5:41pm
A highly addictive drug seen in Russia is spreading into the United States, and some Wisconsin officials are doing what they can to stop it.
Desomorphine is made from codeine pain killers combined with gasoline, lighter fluid, or iodine. On the street, it’s known as krokodil, or crocodile. The name comes from the green scaly skin that appears where the drug’s been injected that looks like the skin is eating away at itself.
Users generally die two years after they become addicted.
A special agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency in Milwaukee says krokodil is on their radar, but there are no confirmed cases of its use in the United States.
Eau Claire police reported last week that an officer came into contact with someone who said they injected krokodil and had the marks to prove it.
La Crosse’s Heroin Task Force decided that they will focus on krokodil, even though it hasn't been seen in the area yet. Task Force co-chair and Coulee Council on Addictions executive director Keith Lease says he’d rather be over-prepared to handle the drug than be caught off guard.
“So often we’re very reactive when it comes to dealing with issues in the community and I wanted to be as proactive as possible with this,” says Lease. “It will come to La Crosse, it will happen, now it’s just a matter of being prepared to deal with it.”
Lease says some heroin users could unintentionally take krokodil.
The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin runs a needle exchange program in nine cities. It’s trying to prevent drug users it works with from trying the drug by warning them to be on the lookout for it and educating them about its harm.