Krokodil Hits NYC

There have now been at least eight cases of the skin-rotting Russian drug krokodil reported in the US, according to medical professionals, and at least three resulted in death.

Krokodil is the street name for the nasty, cheap concoction that is derived from cooking codeine with chemicals such as lighter fluid or gasoline, then injected into the skin. It's up to 10 times as potent as morphine and lasts half as long, which makes it extremely addictive.

It was thought to be confined to Eastern Europe and Russia, where it has had devastating effects. However, it has shown up in the last year in two patients in Arizona, three deaths in Oklahoma, and three patients in Illinois, one of whom is in critical condition.

Perhaps most concerning is the notion that the moonshine-style drug may be finding new users in New York City's nightlife scene. Evan Ensign, who witnessed krokodil being used while serving in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, says he saw a man being thrown out of Purgatory, one of New York's hottest clubs, after attempting to peddle krokodil. Ensign was also directly approached by a dealer at another club, Decades, who tried to sell him krokodil and "clean syringes" in the bathroom.

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