Krokodil, the flesh-eating homemade drug popular in Russia appears to have hit Canada.
Glen Walker, executive director of AIDS Niagara, which runs the Streetworks needle exchange program in Ontario’s Niagara region, isn’t sure it the drug he’s seen is the same that’s made headlines across the globe, but whatever it is, it is not good.
“It has the look of a Krokodil, but at this point, we don’t have any confirmed case we are aware of,” Walker said. “We are seeing a number of individuals who are having a really bad reaction to what they’ve purchased, which they believed to be heroin.”
Krokodil is made with a combination iodine, gasoline, red phosphorus, lighter fluid and paint thinner. It’s then mixed with codeine, either in the form of pills or syrup.
The drug gets its name from the reptilian-like appearance some users get as their skin rots from the inside out.
“We are seeing people who are exhibiting the really bad sores. They are getting blackened skin around the injection site and abscesses, and the skin is sort of pocking.”
The drug was recently discovered in the U.S.
Det-Sgt. Terry Thomson of the Niagara Regional Police drug unit said police can’t medically confirm the drug is in Canada.
He said the symptoms can be mistaken with the complications long-term heroin users can develop by reusing needles and exposing themselves to bacteria.
“If it is confirmed that this drug is actually down here, and not, for lack of a better word, a bad batch of heroin, it would be a big concern for us and the public in general,” Thomson said.