We have more disturbing details this night about the drug known as krokodil which has now reached the Niagara region. It could be the first confirmation of the drug being used in Canada. But before we tell you more , a warning that some of the images in this story are graphic. As we first reported Thursday night on the Evening News at Six, police say there have been two reported cases of people using krokodil. As Lauran Sabourin tells us, it’s a deadly chemical mix that’s more addictive than heroin.
Krokodil is the deadliest drug to hit the streets of Niagara that outreach workers have ever seen. But that isn’t stopping users who crave the high.
Rhonda Thompson is an outreach worker: “Our staff have been really on their toes lately. Ever since oxycontin went off the market, it’s turned into the wild west out there.”
And this can be the result. These disturbing pictures are from Russia. They’re krokodil addicts covered in sores. The drug’s a chemical mix of iodine, gasoline, lighter fluid, paint thinner and codeine. When injected, it kills blood vessels.
Rhonda: “So if they destroy enough blood vessels it will not allow the blood supply to go the hands and fingers and feet.”
These photos of rotting flesh and tissue caused by krokodil are so graphic and repugnant we have to blur them for television. In the last two weeks, two men in St. Catharines have gone to the hospital with sores on their bodies from using krokodil. There is another reported case in Niagara Falls.
Brenda Horton is with the Drug Treatment Centre: “The one gentleman described it he felt like there was a burning coming from the inside out. And it left holes all over his arms.”
Street workers may have only been aware of krokodil in the past two weeks but they believe it’s been on the streets of Niagara for months. And they fear more victims will soon be showing up at hospital emergency rooms.”
Street cops haven’t even seen it yet.
Constable Rich Gadreau is with the Niagara Regional Police: “And they’ve not seen it as far as being produced or sold right now. But that just shows how new it is in the region.”
Brenda Horton works with addicts in St. Catharines. She says krokodil doesn’t last as long, but is stronger and more addictive than heroin: “The life expectancy is about two years once you start using. So it’s deadly.”
Often the users don’t know the purity or the strength of what they’re getting. That’s why support workers says it’s like playing Russian Roulette.