KGW News report: Local doctors aware, watching for heroin substitute

CODA Medical Director Melissa Weimer was asked by KGW newsman Wayne Havrelly about the threat of “krokodil,” a potent drug turning up in some U.S. cities. The drug, reports Havrelly, is created from “codeine pills mixed with iodine, gasoline or paint thinner.  It’s just a fraction of the price of heroin and creates a similar high, but the effects to the body are devastating.  It destroys the user’s skin to the point where it’s been nicknamed ‘the flesh eating drug.’ ”

KGW Melissa Weimer

As Weimer and other medical and law enforcement professionals note in Havrelly’s blog post and video, it is too soon to tell if the drug is in use in Portland. But treatment providers such as CODA and emergency rooms in the area are well aware of the issue, and will continue watching for its arrival–while fielding questions from reporters and others concerned by national stories on the drug.

Havrelly’s balanced report avoids the sensational treatment of the issue seen in much of that national coverage, and sounds an important warning to IV drug users who could unknowingly get the homemade substance. Assuming he stays with the issue, we can expect to get reliable updates about the drug.

-CODA Communications