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Remember that new drug epidemic?

December 10, 2013
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Oh, how the media love their drug scares. Recently, everyone was talking about the new drug krokodil, from Russia — some poison concoction that basically melts your flesh. It was the latest thing to hit the streets in the U.S. and was showing up all over the country.

Except… not so much.

Krokodil: This supposed new drug epidemic now seems faker than ever (and it already seemed very, very fake)

Disregard the American Journal of Medicine article, then [which was withdrawn], and we’re left with zero verified cases of krokodil abuse in the United States—some drug epidemic this is.

One of the things that had made me skeptical of the krokodil story was the question as to why people would want to use it, when there were other things available that didn’t, you know, eat your flesh.

The Dispatch piece goes on to explain why it’s unlikely that krokodil will ever catch on here. Krokodil is used in Russia and Eastern Europe because real heroin is scarce in those places, and, to an addict, a flesh-rotting heroin substitute synthesized from codeine and paint thinner is better than no heroin at all. But in the United States, heroin is not hard to find, and drug users here have no reason to resort to such desperate measures. As the Dispatch suggests, the only way that krokodil might become a thing is if the media keeps hyping it, thus leading curious people to try and acquire this famous new drug. Your move, journalists.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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