Public authorities in Mexico shared details of a gruesome case of the flesh-eating drug krokodil, the first to be officially reported in the state of Jalisco.
According to José Sotero Ruiz Hernández, an official with Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, a 17-year-old girl in Puerto Vallarta presented lacerations to her genitals that she said were caused by her addiction to krokodil.
“The young woman who used this drug had an infection that had rotted her genitals. It wasn’t sexually transmitted. She said she’d been using krokodil for the last two months,” Hernandez said, according to a Huffington Post translation of Mexican newspaper El Periodico Correo.
The woman told authorities that the drug was readily available on street corners. Hernandez added that the drug has also been reported in Mexico City.
Krokodil is a street drug with effects similar to heroin that is made by cooking crushed codeine pills with household chemicals. It is significantly cheaper than heroin, and reportedly ten times as potent. However, the impurities in the drug damage vascular tissue, which causes the flesh to rot.
Although it has been reported frequently since September, there have been no confirmed cases of krokodil in the United States since 2004. Skeptics maintain that cases where intravenous drug users presented scaly sores or rotting flesh associated with krokodil could have been caused from infections contracted as a result of using dirty needles.
Krokodil was first produced in Russia, where a scarcity of heroin and an abundance of over-the-counter codeine fueled a pandemic that peaked in 2011, when approximately 1 million people were addicted to it. Legislation restricting the sale of codeine has reportedly caused a decline in use in Russia since then, but krokodil remains a serious concern.