by Chris Haire
A powerful heroin-like drug that rots flesh and bone has made its first reported appearance in the United States, an Arizona health official says.
Known on the street as "krokodil," the caustic homemade opiate is made from over-the-counter codeine-based headache pills mixed with iodine, gasoline, paint thinner or alcohol. When it's injected, the concoction destroys a user's tissue, turning the skin scaly and green like a crocodile. Festering sores, abscesses and blood poisoning are common...
Krokodil became popular in Russia because heroin can be difficult to obtain and is expensive. Krokodil costs three times less, and the high is similar to heroin though much shorter, usually 90 minutes.
The average life expectancy among krokodil addicts in Russia is two to three years, according to Time, which called the narcotic "the most horrible drug in the world." Gangrene and amputations are common, and the toxic mix dissolves jawbones and teeth, much like the methamphetamine that Walter White cooks in Breaking Bad.