The drug Krokodil, also called Crocodile, derives its name from the scaly greenish appearance of the user’s skin where the drug was injected into the body, causing the blood vessels in the area of the injection to rupture, and the surrounding tissues to die.
With continued use, horrific damage is done to the body which is far uglier than by any drug to date. Shooting Krokodil can result in the user’s death within just 2-3 years.
An Overview of Krokodil
Although the drug just recently surfaced in the US with two known cases in the state of Arizona (its province of use has primarily been the country of Russia) it is actually not a new drug. The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services’ website write-up identifies Krokodil as homemade Desomorphine, a derivative of morphine invented in the United States in 1932.
Also according to the same source, Desomorphine (the active ingredient in Krodokil) “attracted attention in Russia due to its simple production.” Users can make it at home cheaply and easily using its main ingredient of codeine (an over-the-counter drug in Russia) and mixing it with paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, lighter fluid, iodine, or gasoline. Being an opioid, it is of course highly addictive.
Due to the horrific ingredients introduced to the homemade mixture called Krokodil, common complications of injecting the drug include serious damage to the veins, skin and soft tissue resulting in soft tissue infections. Necrosis (death of the tissue) and gangrene (tissue death due to loss of blood supply) follow in short order. In laymen’s terms, the injection of the drug kills the flesh at the injection site and the flesh starts to rot.
Upon viewing images of Krodokil addicts it can be seen that the rotting flesh actually falls away from the bone itself, leaving bare bone open to be seen with the naked eye. It is a rather unsettling and far too graphic demonstration of just how far a drug and its addiction can take a person down. It is a level of self-destructive degradation and debasement that surpasses any street drug to date.
With that said, let’s take a look at 10 facts about this horrible drug.
10 Facts About Krokodil
1. Krokodil is Rampant in Russia.
According to various estimates as reported by Time, there were approximately 1 million Russians shooting Krokodil in 2010. Other estimates go as high as 3 million.
2. Krokodil is Similar to Heroin.
Its effects are comparable to Heroin, and are said to have more “kick” than morphine.
3. Krokodil is Cheaper than Heroin.
It is cheaper than heroin, and can be made at home, similar to the scourge of meth.
4. Krokodil is an Injectable
Due to its chemical make-up and ingredients, it currently can only be injected.
5. Krokodil is Made with Highly Toxic Ingredients
Users mix the main ingredient of codeine with such toxic substances as gasoline, paint thinner, alcohol, oil, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous.
6. Krokodil is Highly Destructive to the Body
The drug causes damage to the blood vessels and the soft tissue of the body. It literally causes the skin and tissue to fall off the bones as the tissue dies and gangrene sets in.
7. Krokodil is a Flesh-Eating Drug
Graphic images available on the internet attest to this fact. The drug kills the tissue, and sloughs away.
8. Krokodil Causes Eshcars
Eschars (large pieces of dead skin) leave the Krokodil user prone to infection and other complications, including amputation.
9. Krokodil Use is a Death Wish
Using a drug which is factually known to rot the tissues of the body and kill the user is a death wish.
10. Krokodil Kills
According to doctors, the life expectancy of a Krokodil user is just 2-3 short years, and it’s a given those years will be brutal.
It is hoped that by raising awareness on this deadly drug, no addicts–no matter how desperate for a fix–will ever turn to shooting Krokodil.