Health authorities in the Mexican state of Sonora have reported the first confirmed case of addiction from a Mexican man to the drug krokodil, known as “the poor man’s heroin.” The state’s director of mental health, Leticia Amparano Gámez, told Notimex that an adult man has checked himself into a health center in the city of Nogales, along the border with Arizona, to seek medical attention for his addiction to a drug which is known to leave startling evidence of its ravages on the skin of those who use it.
The report comes just days after the confirmation of another case of addiction, this one in a 17-year-old woman from Houston, Texas, who according to the Associated Press came to the Pacific resort city of Puerto Vallarta to visit relatives in November. She later checked herself into a health clinic there, where the telltale flesh lesions were discovered by doctors. Medics who attended to her reportedly believed that the teen was suffering from an STD in its advanced stages after seeing “severe lacerations” on her genitals, before the patient admitted that she had been injecting the drug into her reproductive organs.
A new form of heroin substitute, which first became popular in Russia, krokodil is usually made by cooking down codeine (a prescription painkiller) along with gasoline, iodine, phosphorus and other chemicals. It got its name in Russia from the greenish, scaly lesions – similar in appearance to crocodile skin – which develop from prolonged use. The Houston teen who admitted using the drug said she had done so for about two months.
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