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Local Law Officials Warn of Krokodil, Corrosive Drug Sold as Heroin (warning: graphic photo)

Sergeant David Reid at News Conference

Sergeant David Reid at News Conference

Concerns about the use of heroin in the Lamar community are bad enough, but the Lamar Police Department has sources that indicate a more deadly drug being sold as heroin, Krokodil, is now being introduced to the area.    It’s being manufactured similar to methamphetamine and Krokodil uses codeine as an ingredient, but it’s mixed with several corrosive chemicals which can make it deadly to users in as short a time as two years.  It’s not a good way to go. 

Photo of Patient's Forearm from Drug Use

Photo of Patient’s Forearm from Drug Use

“It destroys tissue when it’s injected into the body, and if you mainline it into a vein the long-term effects will see your body  eaten away from the inside out,” explained Detective Dave Reid during a press conference for local media this past Tuesday, January 7.  Some of the ingredients include gasoline, iodine, red phosphorous from match striker plates, codeine and several other corrosive products.  Reid continued, “Part of our fear is that it could be sold as being Black Tar Heroin when it’s really something more deadly, about 8 to 10 times more powerful than morphine.”  He continued, “You get an intense, but short high, about 1 ½ hours, but the real pain comes from a severe withdrawal when heavy-duty pain killers are required to treat a patient.”   

Lamar Police Chief Gary McCrea added that national reports show that Krokodil is low-priced compared to heroin, about $8 per hit compared to $25-30 for Black Tar.  He said the use is more frequent because of the short time high.  The corrosive compounds begin to break down body tissue to the point of open bleeding through needle penetration.  He stated, “This stuff was developed in Russia around 2003 and its increasing home manufacture was noted in 2010.”  Reid added that studies from Russia indicate the long-term user’s body develops gangrene, phlebitis or blood-clotting and green scaly skin, hence it being called Krokodil.  “Amputation for habitual users can become common, whether they inject the drug into a vein or tissue.  Those who survive the drug develop speech problems, erratic body movement or just appear dazed.  It takes a lot longer to withdraw from Krokodil compared to heroin.” 

“It’s not manufactured in a powder that has to be heated to use,” explained McCrea.  “What you produce is a kind of sludge material that looks like Black Tar Heroin.  It can be manufactured locally, but the codeine or base-product desomorphine has to come from outside the community.”  The Chief added that it’s probably imported with most other hard drugs along a north/south corridor from Mexico into the U.S.  “It’s more likely that someone takes a trip to the Front Range, buys their drugs and comes back to town and sells it to their friends who are users.  They may step on the product to dilute it enough to make a profit for them, and who knows that kind of chemicals they’re using to do that,” he offered. 

“We want to be able to eliminate heroin in the community, and we need the general public and parents to be aware we’ve got this other serious drug moving into Lamar.  We just had an overdose at the hospital this past weekend.  It’s here and we need to get people aware,” McCrea said. He said the first report the department received was from a man in a local store who was bleeding profusely from a venous injection and the police were told he was using Krokodil, but there was no official confirmation.  The Chief did say there have been more recent reports of its use, but still, nothing on an official level.  He explained that the person was part of a shoplifting ring that had hit three stores in Lamar that day. 

McCrea said this recent development will be discussed next week during the meeting of the local Drug Task Force, created several months ago due to the influx of heroin into Lamar.  “We’re planning an information campaign at the local schools, but I wanted to contact the media about this instead of waiting a week,” he explained.  McCrea also said he’s contacted local higher authorities about resurrecting the department’s drug unit or have a couple of officers assigned to work specifically on drugs.  The County and City developed an information tip line several months ago for the general public to call and leave information.  McCrea said it hasn’t gotten a lot of use, but the callers remain anonymous and simply record their information which is listened to later.  That number is available at 719-336-1435.

By Russ Baldwin

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust

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