ROTTING flesh, scaly skin and pus-filled gaping wounds… these symptoms may sound like something straight out of a horror film.
But this year has seen a number of cases of Brits living with these life-threatening injuries in secret – after becoming addicted to a new flesh-eating drug known as Krokodil, which experts say is “one of the worst drugs in the world”.
The dangerous substance – which can be homemade from a deadly concoction of household products – costs just a few pounds and creates a high similar to that of heroin.
Krokodil — Russian for crocodile — turns the skin green and scaly around the area where it's injected as blood vessels burst and the skin rots away.
Horrifyingly, the deadly substance — which originated in Russia around a decade ago as a cheap alternative to heroin — is now set to take hold here in the UK, with desperate users being able to make it for a tenth of the price.
A woman in her forties was unable to attend Cheltenham Magistrates' Court in August after taking the Class A substance, which is ten times more powerful than heroin.
Her barrister told the court the unnamed woman was being treated for “horrific” open sores in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Last year, Somerset's Taunton Deane Borough Council also reported problems with the drug, with a housing officer admitting: “The effects of the drug are so severe that addicts' behaviour is untenable in hostels.”
Doctors estimate that from the point an addict first takes Krokodil, their life expectancy is a little over two years.
But why is the drug on the rise?