Drug War

Supposed Flesh Eating Drug Krokodil in U.S. Seems to Be a Crock


I can't even pretend to be surprised ironically here: another scare about a horribly dangerous street drug despoiling the U.S. of A turns out to be a crock. See Chicago Tribune the other day on "krokodil," the Russian import supposedly more dangerous to Americans' health than Boris and Natasha combined:

marfis75 / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

An announcement two weeks ago by a Joliet doctor who said he treated three patients who showed the telltale rotting flesh associated with the toxic, home-brewed opiate — made from mixing codeine tablets with solvents like gasoline or acids — has sparked media coverage. A week later, a Crystal Lake hospital reported treating a krokodil user, and reports have cropped up across the country.

Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago office, said doctors and victims in the Chicago area have been interviewed by law enforcement.

….200 DEA agents across five states have made finding krokodil a top priority, Riley said.

"We have run quite a few buys in the city and suburbs," Riley said "What the lab tells us is it's just heroin."….

The Tribune contacted health officials in nine states where reports of krokodil have surfaced in the media, but no agency, yet, has found conclusive proof that the drug is in use….

Health authorities and hospital officials in Oklahoma and Utah said cases of krokodil use there remain unconfirmed or were debunked….

…..even the symptoms associated with krokodil use are not that unique, said Jane Maxwell, a researcher at the University of Texas….

Long-term users of injectable drugs like heroin can develop infections from reusing needles and exposing themselves to all sorts of bacteria, leading to staph infections or those that are resistant to methicillin, known as MRSA infections….

The images of rotting flesh and zombielike krokodil junkies could scarcely make for a more frightening cautionary tale about drug use, [Kathleen] Kane-Willis [a director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy] said. A krokodil panic, Kane-Willis fears, will draw attention away from the need for better treatment options for drug users.

"But when you try to scare people with something that's not real, you lose credibility," she said. "And when you dehumanize someone with addictions, you make it harder for them to seek help."

Steven Greenhut from May on how the drug war is fueled by crackpot scare stories. Jacob Sullum from earlier this month on how prohibition could lead people to even contemplate making crummy drugs like krokodil.

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  1. ….200 DEA agents across five states have made finding krokodil a top priority, Riley said.

    Nothing left to cut.

    1. Goddammit. I could make five friends this afternoon and have desomorpine, probably in a safe manner that doesn’t involve shooting gasoline into my arm with it.

      1. shit. Make calls to five friends. Also, does nobody put a dab on their tongue to make sure their drugs don’t taste like gasoline or burn their mucus membranes?

  2. Once is an incidence.

    Twice is a trend.

    Three times is an epidemic.

  3. If they think Krokodil is dangerous, wait until they get a load of jenkem!

    1. They already tried that one and no one could keep a straight face for long enough to convince anyone to panic. Homemade Russian fake heroinis a more plausible sounding danger, better to gin up some moral panic.

      1. To create a real moral panic, some rapper needs to jump on the trend.

        It could be the next purple drank.

        They’re selling it to children? Oh, we got trouble…right here in River City!

    2. Episiarch|10.29.13 @ 1:15PM|#
      “If they think Krokodil is dangerous, wait until they get a load of jenkem!”

      I seem to recall a Soviet export that killed nearly 100,000,000 Chinese.
      And certain people are still addicted to it!

  4. Krokodil is not new the USA. Why 20 years ago in college, my friends and I would regularly butt-chug krokodil at our weekly rainbow parties. Kids have been doing the same stuff for years. Jeesh!

  5. Speaking of crocks…I’ll leave this here.

    Fukushima: 28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation?

    The map above comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center. It shows that radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the country are elevated. As you will notice, this is particularly true along the west coast of the United States. Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean. That means that the total amount of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain.

    Don’t forget the comments. They are darling.

    1. The complete lack of any scientific knowledge, the complete lack of any recognition of the vastness of the Pacific ocean, and the complete lack of intelligence: it’s hilarious, but remember, these people vote.

      That’s not so hilarious.

      1. Start before that. What do they mean by “radioactive water”? So what if it has some radioisotopes in it? By the standards of nuke plants, most well water is probably “radioactive”.

        1. Even if it were the most contaminated water ever, which I am sure it is not, 300 tons per day into the Pacific Ocean is approximately nothing. Putting the radioactive water in the ocean is probably the safest way to deal with it. It’s amazing how ignorant (and often willfully so) people are about radioactivity.

          1. Agreed. There may be a reason we use water as an insulation layer.

          2. They got their science education from Saturday Matinee “B” sci-fi movies.

      2. Fuck you and your corporate “science!” HOW I FEEL IS EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE!

    2. I think one of nuclear engineers figured out that even in the immediate quarter-mile square where that water is going, there is slightly less radiation being dumped than a person receives every day living above 5000 feet elevation.

      1. Clearly we have to ban Denver – For the Children.

        1. I live at 4000 feet. If Denver has lethal radiation, I’m surely going to die too. I should get some sort of subsidy.

      2. And… here’s some “science” to help back that up.

    3. I participated in a sea slug survey once, back in the ’80s, collecting and looking at specimins both north and south of San Onofre…

      It kinda freaked me out. Kinda made me pissed that they would send me into the water around there–after I saw the slugs. Kind of a shitty way to make a point.

      Maybe those defects was for other reasons. Maybe it didn’t mean anything, but I was glad when they shut that reactor down.

      You know there are faults running right along there? Too much government planning involved in those things, too. The government saying it was safe didn’t make me feel any better at all–and then they started saying it wasn’t safe at all.

      I think nuclear power is a great idea, but there’s no reason not to be smart about where you put the damn things. All that desert to the east, and you’ve gotta put a reactor right on the coast?

      And it wouldn’t surprise me if radioactive water really were washing up all over the Pacific Rim.


      1. It’s just that the fear of radioactivity is absurdly high compared to the risk. For Health Physics we really should stop using Rads or Sieverts to measure radiation and go with the banana.

        1. For Health Physics we really should stop using Rads or Sieverts to measure radiation and go with the banana.

          Which is totally a real, actual, true thing that’s totally not made up.

          And yes, the BED would put radiation doses in perspective for the news watching layman. Of course, reporters will never use it as it isn’t scary enough to get a pantshittingly frightened response from viewers.

          1. What is the lethal dosage of bananas?

    4. I heavily under estimated the severity of the migrating current and levels of radiation, however, it reinforces my theory that my moms death, by pancreatic cancer at age 46 in May/1984 was likely caused by fallout from the atomic bomb testing and bombings carried out in WWII. It also solves my questions of FEMA ordering14 million body bags, 140 million ready rash-ins, and constructing 600 concentration camps!

      “I admittedly don’t understand science, but this proves my hypothesis!”

      1. People justifying a loved one’s death as “somebody’s fault” are the worst.

        1. Especially when it is something rare and not easily tied to a single cause. Sure, fallout from nuclear tests might have contributed to her cancer, but it is impossible to know and not really useful information. There is some amount of radioactive isotopes from atmospheric nuclear bomb tests in everything, everywhere.

    5. Is anything in that article true? Just o about all of it seems pretty obviously false, or completely unsupported by evidence, at least. It sounds like they are just making shit up. If the west coast were becoming a “Dead zone”, I’d think we’d have heard about it.

      From everything I’ve read about Fukushima from people who actually know anything about radiation and nuclear engineering, it is really an example of how safe nuclear is. An old, pretty much obsolete nuke plant gets hit by an enormous earth quake and tsunami and basically all that happened is that the Pacific becomes slightly more radioactive for a while.

  6. “But when you try to scare people with something that’s not real, you lose credibility,”

    Not if the people are Dem voters, you don’t. They just claim rethuglicans don’t bleeve enough to see the problem.

  7. Back in my day, if you wanted a buzz you and your friends would go out for a night of cheesing. These kids today…

  8. Thanks for posting this. I live in the Chicago area and this has been all over the news and Facebook. Which, of course, made me curious about the actual truth.

    1. I live in the Chicago area…

      You poor thing.


        *breaks down sobbing*

        1. I like chicago and have been there many times (used to have family there), but after a few days I really, really need to leave.

          1. I live in the Chicago ‘burbs – nice enough, but I really wish Illinois was a very different place when it comes to…well, many things. I have already informed my kids they should feel absolutely no compunction to stay in this state.

            1. It sucks when the urban assholes get to make the laws for the whole state; ruins a lot of nice suburban/rural places. See: maryland, michigan, illinois, colorado, NY, etc, etc…

            2. Which ‘burb? I lived in Mundelein for awhile.

              Then I got meds levelled out, and moved.

  9. Fake drug panic stories being the bane of my existence, these krokodil stories have been pissing me off to no end.

    The fact that if you shoot up solvents with a rusty syringe you found in a pile of dogshit, your arm will fall off regardless of any other chemicals involved seems like too much common sense for our betters in the media and at the DEA.

    I really hate the fucking DEA and reporters*.

    *brian doherty excluded.


      1. The fucked up part of that whole thing was that the guy wasn’t on drugs at the time. Some cop said it coulda been some bath saltz and the media ran with it. Naturally, when the toxicology report came in and contradicted the statist narrative the damage had already been done.

        1. Text book illustration of the false drug panic.

  10. The fact that if you shoot up solvents with a rusty syringe you found in a pile of dogshit, your arm will fall off regardless of any other chemicals involved seems like too much common sense for our betters in the media and at the DEA.


  11. These warnings might make more of an impact if the agencies issuing them didn’t constantly lie about the “dangers” of fairly benign drugs at the same time. They simply have no credibility because they have been squawking about the sky falling for decades.

    1. Yeah, its almost like they want us to believe there is NO safe way to use drugs, damn your lying experiences.

      1. You were just lucky. Every joint is like loading another bullet behind playing Russian Roulette.

        And, frankly, if people die from using drugs, they are as happy as pigs in shit.

  12. ” when you try to scare people with something that’s not real, you lose credibility,”

    Not if you don’t have any credibility to begin with. The drug warriors thus have nothing to lose by trotting out new stories.

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