New York - It is feared a deadly drug known as 'cannibal heroin' which eats flesh from the inside out is about to take off in the United States.
Krokodil, which is similar to heroin and originated in Russia 10 years ago, turns users into zombies as
their bodies begin to rot leaving addicts with reptilian skin.
Following reports over the past month of cases of krokodil abuse in both Arizona and Chicago, Illinois, the drug is now believed to have hit New York.
The homemade concoction can be up to 10 times cheaper than heroin and is created by mixing codeine with gasoline or oil.
The drug is made of readily available ingredients such as codeine, iodine and toxins such as gasoline, industrial cleaning oil, lighter fluid and paint thinner. Users filter and boil ingredients together, then inject the drug.
The results are catastrophic.
Continual use of krokodil, Russian for crocodile, causes blood vessels to burst, leaving skin green and scaly and eventually causing gangrene.
In Russia around 30,000 people die from the affects of the drug every year. It is thought about
a quarter of a million people in the country are now hooked on the poison.
Addiction is spreading among young people and even those who manage to quit come away disfigured for life.
Margarita Schelkunova, 28, and her husband became hooked on the drug seven years ago.
Even though Schelkunova is now clean, she has lost her sight and has been diagnosed with cancer and HIV. She has only weeks to live.
Her husband died at the age of 27.
Irina Dyadyuchenko, 35, has survived being a krokodil addict and has now been clean for two years.
She began using heroin at the age of 14 and when her local drug dealers were jailed she turned to homemade krokodil to get her fix.
Irina, who is the daughter of an engineer and a teacher, said when the recipe landed in Russia, she realized she could make it herself with for a fraction of the cost of her heroin addiction.
Krokodil could already be hitting the U.S. even as authorities battle huge numbers of people using homemade crystal meth.
A British doctor believes he may have came across a case in the UK.
Dr Allan Harris, a GP in Gloucester, wrote in an article for The Independent that the man was
homeless and in his 30s.
'There was essentially a crater in his arm and you could see the bone and tendons,' he wrote.
'It is hugely addictive and potent and can be cooked up in 30 minutes. It's only a matter of time before we start seeing it in Britain. It is not a case of 'if' but 'when'.
Fears that the drug could head to the United States have been rife since 2011, when a Drug Enforcement Administration official said the agency was aware of its use overseas.
But even with a drug treatment physician publicly announcing that medics have now treated four users within the U.S., the DEA has said it is not ready to recognize it as an immediate threat.
Agency spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told FoxNews.com: 'We, the DEA, are not seeing cases of it.
Nothing’s been turned into any of our labs. As far as the DEA is concerned, we have not seen any cases.'