Although the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) denies reports involving the use of the highly addictive, flesh-eating substance krokodil in the U.S., officials in Mexico say the drug has appeared sporadically throughout the country. Doctors in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, thought a horrifying infection on a 17-year-old girl’s genitals was an untreated sexually transmitted infection; however, they were shocked to learn her condition was the result of her krokodil addiction.

"The young woman who used this drug had an infection that had rotted her genitals,” José Sotero Ruiz Hernández from Mexico's National Institute of Migration told El Periodico Correo. “It wasn't sexually transmitted. She said she'd been using krokodil for the last two months."

Krokodil, a dangerous mixture of codeine, gasoline and other household substances such as paint thinner, hydrochloric acid and phosphorus, began showing up in record numbers among drug users in Russia as early as 2009. Known as the synthetic form of desomorphine, the drug’s deadly combination of hydrochloric acid and phosphorus causes severe tissue damage as well an infection in veins, which often leads to gangrene.

Krokodil is especially appealing to heavy drug users seeing as it is significantly more potent than both heroin and morphine and less expensive. The woman in Puerto Vallarta decided to seek medical attention two months after beginning her krokodil addiction when she started to notice a "severe laceration" on her genitals. While Mexican officials only report erratic use of the drug, the woman said that krokodil is readily available on most street corners in Mexico.

In spite of the DEA’s denial over krokodil’s presence in the U.S., state officials in Arizona reported two cases involving the drug’s use back in September. "As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we're extremely frightened," Dr. Frank LoVecchio from the Banner Poison Control Center in Arizona told KLTV. "They extract [the drug] and even though they believe that most of the oil and gasoline is gone, there is still remnants of it. You can imagine just injecting a little bit of it into your veins can cause a lot of damage."