COLUMBUS, Ohio - A drug more potent and devastating than heroin may be in Central Ohio for the first time. It's called krokodil.
Many users who get hooked on it do not survive.
The drug popped up in Russia first.
There are suspected cases in Arizona, Oklahoma, Illinois and now Ohio.
The reaction to this chemical concoction of a drug is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before.
"When it's injected into the vein, it causes initial skin tinting of a greenish color. The raised area of the skin looks like crocodile. That's where it comes from," Deputy Chief Jim Davis of the Columbus Division of Fire said.
Now, the drug may be in Central Ohio.
"The patient had a large, open wound and it is consistent with what we've been seeing, or the trend when people use this type of medicine," Deputy Chief Davis said.
Deputy Chief Davis says a homeless man told Columbus medics that he used krokodil. He said the man had wounds consistent with the drug.
Davis is now warning the entire fire department that krokodil appears to have made it to Columbus.
The medical director for the Central Ohio Poison Center says there have been only two other possible cases of krokodil in the state. None of them were in Columbus.
Local emergency responders say they are ready for what lies ahead.
"Our biggest issue with this is the fact that anybody who uses needles in some type of drug situation, is highly suspected of other highly contagious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV," Deputy Chief Davis said.
The home-made drug poisons the user's body.
krokodil is really an opiate called desomorphine. It's similar to heroin and oxycodone, but it hits a user quicker. It's more potent that morphine.
Krokodil damages the veins and soft tissue, causing rapidly growing gangrene. It turns the users skin a scaly black or green color.
Video at link: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2013/10/31/Columbus_Krokodil.html