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First cases of flesh-eating drug reported in United States

Sept. 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

PHOENIX, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The first cases of the flesh-eating drug krokodil, first seen in Russia about 11 years ago, have been reported in the United States, officials said.

Krokodil, with effects similar to heroin or morphine, is made by mixing codeine, red phosphorous, iodine, and paint thinner, and is very easy to make, KNXV-TV, Phoenix, reported.

"It's similar to the methamphetamine," said Shelly Mowrey, a substance abuse and prevention expert in the Valley. "Cook with a hot pan, chemicals, and it only takes 30 minutes to cook."

So far in the United States, there have been two cases of krokodil use reported in Arizona, FoxNews.com reported.

"As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Arizona, adding that the cases are believed to be linked. "So we're extremely frightened."

The drug can cause a user's skin to turn green and scaly, and eventually rot away, said Dr. Ellen Marmur, chief of dermatological and cosmetic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Users of the drug have a life expectancy of from one to two years.

"It just kills the skin, that's what you're seeing, big dead pieces of skin," Marmur said.

"This is really frightening," Dr. Aaron Skolnik, a toxicologist at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center told FoxNews.com. "This is something we hoped would never make it to the U.S. because it's so detrimental to the people who use it."

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