Krokodil – A Flesh Eating Designer Drug That Kills Quickly
There’s never a shortage of ways people take illegal drugs, or the types of new drugs that can be found on the street. Drug addicts and illicit drug manufacturers are ever so creative at finding new ways to get high or make a buck, and every few years, a new designer drug such as Bath Salts gains popularity until it is shut down by the DEA or the public gets wise to it.
The latest drug to hit the emergency rooms is Desomorphine, also known as Krokodil on the streets, but this one is as dangerous as it gets.
What is Krokodil?
Krokodil is a cheap, heroin substitute that originated in Russia roughly ten years ago and hit its stride there publicly in the past few years. It is similar to morphine, can quickly and easily be made from codeine, iodine and other items, and is cooked up at home in a similar fashion to meth.
The drug produces a heroin-like effect, but unlike heroin which lasts four to eight hours, the effects of Krokodil last only 30 minutes to 90 minutes, which increases the frequency of use considerably.
The real problem arises when more volatile and toxic compounds such as gasoline or paint thinner are used to produce the drug. It’s not completely known why these toxic ingredients are used, but it is known that they cause serious health issues. They contain metals and toxins that damage the brain and other vital organs.
Krokodil gets its name from the side effects of these toxic ingredients, namely that they eat the flesh, causing dark, rough areas that resemble the skin of a crocodile. As it eats away at the skin, organs, and bones, it causes gangrene, a river of pus, and almost certainly amputation and death within a year or two after prolonged use. Photos and videos are available online that show just how horrible this drug can be as it eats away at its victims.
Why do people use Krokodil if it’s so dangerous?
1. We’ve seen a resurgence in heroin use over the past few years because it’s cheaper than buying prescription drugs. At a fraction of the cost, Krokodil can be bought for as cheap as $8 to $10 a hit, which is much cheaper than real heroin.
2. Instructions for making it can be found on the internet using common, legal ingredients. Because the high doesn’t last very long, it’s more economical to make it at home.
3. Withdrawal symptoms set in very quickly, much sooner than heroin, so its higher frequency of use is offset by the lower price.
4. Drug Dealers are selling it as heroin, not some heroin substitute, and many users don’t know they’re buying something that will eat their flesh and kill them in a year.
5. Many addicts will take anything that will reduce or remove the symptoms of withdrawal, regardless of the consequences. This isn’t a recreational drug like marijuana that is used for fun. The addiction is so severe, it is actually needed to live life free of pain and physical sickness.
From Russia to the United States
While Krokodil use has thus far been primarily restricted to Russia, it has shown up recently in the United States and has doctors and lawmakers extremely concerned. The John and Ken Show on KFI Radio Los Angeles contacted Dr. A.R. Mohammad, M.D. for an on-air interview and Monsters & Critics also interviewed him for an article entitled, “From Russia, Without Love.”
The media attention to Krokodil has been swift and necessary, given the horrendous side effects and ill-fated consequences of the drug. It is unknown how long it has been in the U.S., but the earliest known cases from hospitals were seen in Arizona and near Chicago in September and October 2013.
There’s almost no way for a user to know that they’re buying Krokodil instead of heroin on the street until after they’ve used it. This makes it imperative to get the word out and educate doctors, counselors and anyone in contact with users that this drug is out there and it kills quickly.
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