US health authorities are concerned about a powerful heroin-like drug that rots flesh and bone from within.
The street drug, known as “krokodil” is a home-made opiate which has deadly caustic properties.
It contains a potentially lethal mixture of hydrocarbons, such as oil, paint thinner or gasoline, and is mixed with over-the-counter analgesics, such as codeine.
The drug, which is believed to have first been manufactured in Russia, has now been reported in the United States.
Health officials have revealed the first case was discovered in the state of Arizona, where a dose of the injected drug had caused damage to the user’s blood vessels and tissue, turning the skin scaly.
After injection, the skin had turned green before falling off.
For any user, the dangerous drug mirrors the sedative sensation of heroin, but is many times cheaper.
In Russia, users now number in the hundreds of thousands.
The average life expectancy of a krokodil user is around three years.