Known as the “poor man’s heroin” because of its cheap and easily accessible ingredients, the flesh-eating drug Krokodil has surfaced in the United States in the past several months after originating in Russia. The most recent case is of a girl originally from Houston, Texas, who was hospitalized in Mexico during a trip to Puerto Vallarta with lesions caused by the drug.
She was the girl who had injected Krokodil into her genitals and consequently had a “rotted” vagina, according to José Sotero Ruiz Hernández from Mexico's National Institute of Migration. “The young woman who used this drug had an infection that had rotted her genitals,” he told El Periodico Correo. “It wasn’t sexually transmitted. She said she’d been using krokodil for the last two months.”
Now, the head of the Council on Addictions in Jalisco, Mexico, Dr. Enrico Sotelo, has told news sources that the 17-year-old girl is actually a resident of Houston, Texas — deeming her yet another American Krokodil case. She was visiting relatives on the Pacific coast of Mexico in November, and checked into a local clinic in December due to digestive problems. Doctors discovered the lesions and “rotted” vagina there. Sotelo did not announce the girl’s name, though he said she used the drug in Houston.
“She acquired this problem with Krokodil in Houston, not here in Puerto Vallarta,” Sotelo told The Associated Press. Sotelo said that Mexico has thus far only reported two cases, one in Puerto Vallarta and another in Baja California.
Krokodil is a street drug that originally started out in poor areas of Russia, where heroin addicts were looking for a more potent and less expensive drug to keep their addictions going, after they ran out of money for costly drugs. Krokodil is a homemade drug, a mix of household chemicals, such as gasoline and crushed codeine pills. Because of the toxic ingredients, Krokodil slowly grates away at tissue and causes rotting flesh, gangrene, brain damage, and ultimately death. Most of the Krokodil drug users don’t use proper sanitation and may share needles, increasing their risks for HIV and hepatitis C.
Since September, the drug has cropped up twice in Arizona, though U.S. officials say they are the only cases yet reported. Another several cases were reported in Illinois later in the fall. As for the Houston girl, her current condition is uncertain, as she hasn't checked into the clinic since her original hospitalization.