20 May

This is not going to be a funny article.

Since 2002, a new drug has been circulating through Russia and now appears to be spreading outwards. The technical name of the drug is desomorphine, a stronger derivative of normal opiates. It’s about ten times as potent and normally a controlled and regulated medical substance. However, a method of cooking it from commercially available products was recently invented. Codeine-based headache pills are the primary ingredient, but reports indicate that gasoline, red phosphorous, iodine, and hydrochloric acid are key components to the cooking. Like street-meth it’s simple enough to cook in your own kitchen.

However, while desomorphine is a chemically pure medicine, this bastardization is not. Instead of a pure substance you end with something orange-yellow, sticky, and brimming with toxic chemicals. These include left over ingredients, accidental syntheses, and other drugs thrown in with the original headache pills. Like heroin, this tar is then injected into a vein and produces a euphoric catalepsy. The bodily effects, however, are devastating. In addition to brain damage and loss of motor skills, the toxic chemicals quickly breakdown skin and muscle tissue. Skin surrounding the injection site turns gray-green and begins to scale as necrosis and gangrene set in. The drug’s nickname, ‘krokodil‘, or ‘crocodile’, comes from this trademark symptom. In some cases it gets bad enough that the entire limb sloughs away, exposing bone.

Good conscience says I can’t post pictures. Go ahead and stare at Brian Cranston instead.

The drug is so dangerous that it’s commonly quoted that “the life expectancy of the average user is less than three years”. So why, if it is so harmful, does this drug even exist? The answer is unfortunately one of economics. As the world community cracks down on heroin, especially Afghan heroin, it has become increasing more expensive for junkies to get a fix. Krokodil is over twenty times cheaper than heroin and junkies, likely already destitute from drug use, have increasingly turned to it.

There are some measures being considered to prevent krokodil manufacturing. In America crystal meth production is kept low by restricting the availability of pseudoepinephrine cough syrup. Similar restrictions on Russian codeine pills may prove fruitful, but have so far not been implemented.

We are unlikely to see krokodil users in America any time soon. We already have restrictions on codeine pills, but Canada, Germany, Australia, France, and Japan do not. Let us hope it doesn’t catch on. This drug ruins lives and rots bodies from the inside out. We would be lucky to see it die off as soon as possible.

Sources: The Independent, Time Magazineio9, Wikipedia


Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Modernity


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2 responses to “Krokodil

  1. keven

    July 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    how can i heal this drug

    • theglyptodon

      July 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      I’m afraid I don’t know. It’s an opiate, so something like methadone therapy might help with the addiction. If there’s tissue damage, that’s beyond my ken. Hospital is probably the immediate solution.


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