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November 22, 2013

'Krokodil' concerns prompt special offer in Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch

ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio — The sheriff of Athens County is so concerned about a new, heroinlike synthetic drug that he’s promising not to pursue charges against anyone who turns in the drug to his office.

Sheriff Pat Kelly made the offer after Athens County confirmed that a woman there had used “ krokodil,” a drug that can cause brain damage and side effects that include scaly, greenish skin.

“We don’t want them selling this drug to anyone else,” Kelly said. “We want to get the stuff and get it tested. We are interested in helping the addict.”

Kelly said the drug showed up in his county after the user bought what she thought was heroin in the Columbus area.

“We are hoping that it’s one batch,” Kelly said. “You don’t know what you’re getting when you go to Columbus.”

The Columbus Division of Fire had reported this month that a man in Columbus told paramedics he also had injected himself with the drug. Fire Deputy Chief Jim Davis told WBNS-TV (Channel 10) that the man had wounds consistent with using the drug.

The scaly nature and color of the wounds resemble a crocodile’s skin. The drug’s name is Russian for “crocodile.” The drug originated in Russia.

The reports from Franklin and Athens counties are the first of krokodil showing up in Ohio. There also have been reports of use around Chicago and in Arizona and Oklahoma.

The drug is made by mixing codeine tablets with household chemicals and gasoline, paint thinner or lighter fluid.

Kelly said his office learned from a confidential informant that the woman there used the drug without knowing what it was and became alarmed when her skin turned scaly around the injection site. She didn’t seek medial treatment.

Krokodil can cause permanent brain damage that can result in speech impediments and spastic movements. It also can cause damage to internal organs and severe tissue damage.

Copyright 2013 The Columbus Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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