Flesh-Eating Drug Pops Up in Southwest After a Decade in Russia

A flesh-eating drug has been found in the southwest United States after first being documented more than a decade ago in Russia.

Krokodil, as the flesh-eating drug is known, is similar to morphine or heroin and is made by mixing codeine with other substances such as gasoline, paint thinner, oil or alcohol.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio, co-medical director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center in Arizona revealed that two cases of people using the drug have been reported in the state.

"As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported," LoVecchio told CBS, adding that the cases are believed to be linked. "So we're extremely frightened."

The drug is then injected into a vein and can turn the skin greenish and scaly with continued use leading the flesh to rot away.

"This is really frightening," Dr. Aaron Skolnik, a toxicologist at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center told Fox News. "This is something we hoped would never make it to the U.S. because it's so detrimental to the people who use it."

Users of krokodil had previously only been found in large numbers in Russia, where 65 million doses of the opiate were seized during the first three months of 2011, Russia's Federal Drug Control Service told Time.

"This looks to me a lot like skin popping, what drug users used to do back in the day with heroin and other drugs," Dr. Ellen Marmur, chief of dermatological and cosmetic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, told NBC. "It just kills the skin, that's what you're seeing, big dead pieces of skin."

"It's horrible," she continued. "These people are the ultimate in self-destructive drug addiction. Once you're an addict at this level, any rational thinking doesn't apply."