Flesh-eating drug makes its way to the U.S.

OKLAHOMA CITY – A flesh-eating drug makes its way to the U.S. Known on the street as “krokodil,” it’s being called “the most horrible drug in the world.” Fox 25′s Kisha Henry shows us why drug enforcement officers are worried about Oklahomans.

Oklahoma is number one in the Nation for prescription addiction and opiate-abuse, and “krokodil” is made from prescription drugs. Its effects are extremely graphic.

Up until recently “krokodil” has only been popular in Russia, but now the flesh-eating drug has made its first reported appearance in the U.S., in Arizona. “You feel like you’re going to die, but you don’t,” says Tom Boone, the Clinical Director at A Chance to Change Addiction Recovery. Boone used to be a heroine addict, and now works on the other side of addiction. He says “krokodil” is the “poor man’s heroin.”

“The veins are collapsing, they’re getting infections from the chemicals, they’re getting bacteria. There’s a huge incidence of gangrene and other viruses,” says Mark Woodward, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

“Krokodil” is a homemade opiate, created from prescription drugs like Hydrocodone. Users extract the drug by using substances like paint thinner, gasoline, or iodine. They then inject the drug. “Those (substances) get left behind in the mixture and those go into the body and cause all kinds of health issues,” says Woodward.

“Krokodil” gives users a high similar to heroin, but it’s three-times cheaper and more dangerous. “It’s a short high. It lasts less than an hour, where heroine will last longer than that. Why is that an issue? It means people are going to do much more of it,” explains Boone. The drug destroys a user’s tissue, turning the skin scaly and green like a crocodile, before completely eating it. “The life expectancy of someone who’s using it daily is two years,” says Boone. He says opiate addictions have the worst withdrawals, which is why they’re so dangerous.

So, if this drug is so dangerous, why do people do it? “Addiction is a very complex disease, but the reality is very simple. People do drugs and they do alcohol to change how they feel. It changes their emotional state, their psychological state. A first-time user might use it just to see what it feels like. But, then a change happens. They are not using drugs to get a good feeling. They are using drugs to keep a bad feeling away. At that point, you don’t want to use drugs. Drugs aren’t fun anymore. You have to use them,” says Boone.

“About a year or a year and a half ago, we had a report that there was an overdose down in Southern Oklahoma. They took the young man to a hospital in Oklahoma City. They thought it was a possible overdose from the ‘krokodil’ that they were seeing over in Russia, but we never got that confirmed,” says Woodward. Though the only confirmed cases have been in Arizona, OBN says it’s likely ‘krokodil’ is already in Oklahoma. “People get desperate for any type of high and they go to extreme measures of stealing things out of medicine cabinets, and following a recipe off the Internet,” says Woodward.

“If you want to show what withdrawals look like, you can go down to the jail, and see an opiate addict come in and be put in a cell and not be given anything. Watch what happens to them. It is insanity,” says Boone, explaining the nature of addiction and what it does to a person.
Drug experts in Oklahoma are especially concerned, with our high rate of prescription and opiate abuse. “The most devastating thing I saw in Tulsa, when I was over there, was to see senior citizens going and getting hundreds of oxycodones and selling them to augment their income, to put food on the table,” says Boone. He says they weren’t addicted to them, but they were feeding into the horrible cycle of addiction.

OBN recommends locking up your prescriptions, or properly disposing of the ones you no longer use. It’s also recommended to check your teenagers’ or loved ones’ Internet search history for websites that show users how to make “krokodil” and other drugs.

As originally published by FOX25 KOKH-TV Oklahoma City

By: Kisha Henry, Weekend Anchor


Overdose reversal drug gives hope to PA’s heroin epidemic

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new drug reverses the effects of overdose - drug free pennsylvania

It’s cheap.

“Two bags sells for $40,” said by an undercover police detective.

It’s easy to find.

“I live in Camp Hill. It’s hitting home there. It is everywhere,” said Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed.

It’s lethal.

“It’s highly addictive and highly dangerous,” said Freed.

It’s killing your family, your friends, neighbors and colleagues.

“It doesn’t discriminate between economical background, sex or age,” said Lt. Det. Patrick Glynn of the Quincy Police Department.

Some say it’s Pennsylvania’s biggest problem; heroin.

“Heroin use and abuse is the number one crime problem in the Commonwealth of Pa.,” said Freed.
But even heroin has a weakness. It’s called Narloxone or Narcan.
“We’ve seen it done with success in different places around the country. The use of this drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose,” said Freed.

abc27 recently traveled to Quincy, Massachusetts, an area similar to many Midstate neighborhoods. Just 10 minutes outside of Boston, it is situated between big cities. Officers there were the first in the country to carry Narcan.

“We keep it right in the glove box with a card, sealed with two doses,” said Quincy Officer Bryan Donnelly.
It’s nickname is “The Wonder Drug.”

“It takes all of 15 seconds to put it together — this will be a one twist here and now we are ready to go with our medication,” said Glynn. “It’s very surreal that you would have someone in front of you that’s blue, gray and for all purposes they’re dead and you have this small item that you can insert up their nose and spray and within 30 seconds you can start to see a positive reaction it is simply amazing that you literally have life and death in your hands.”

Lt. Det. Glynn is the commander of the Narcotics unit in Quincy. The success they’ve had using Narcan is shocking.

“Out of the the 355 overdoses, 249 times nasal Narcan was administered it was required, and out of the 249 we reversed 238,” said Glynn.

On a cold night in late March we went undercover with Quincy narcotics detectives. The city is infested with heroin. It took only minutes to spot addicts.

During our ride along we came across heroin addict Greg Beagen who was looking for his next fix.

“It’s just an escape…I escape reality for a while,” said Beagen.

Beagen has battled addiction since he was a teenager and has been hit with Narcan five times. If Quincy Police didn’t carry Narcan, Beagen says he would be dead.

“A lot of us have heroin problems and lately the stuff has been real bad, real potent and with them carrying it on them it saves time. It saves a lot of lives,” said Beagen.

For the Quincy Police Department it’s just another weapon in their arsenal. Police are typically the first to arrive to an overdose. They say Narcan has breathed new life into how they serve and protect their community.
“We are helping the person who is overdosing and saving their life but we are saving the family a whole ton of pain, too,” said Officer Donnelly.

Beagen serves as living proof; Narcan can give second chances.

“It has worked. We have been able to get people into treatment and have them live a productive life afterwards. But in order for them
to do that we need them alive,” said Lt. Det. Glynn.

On Thursday, abc27 will dive into the issue of whether officers in Pennsylvania should start carrying this “Wonder Drug.”

Some have concerns and say it’s just enabling addicts. Others are in favor. Law enforcement officials from around the Midstate will weigh in.

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