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Krokodil: the grossest drug on earth


Krokodil, or a dirty form of desomorphine, a designer drug similar to morphine or heroine that is derived by “cooking” codeine and everyday household substances like iodine, has swept across Russia leaving addicts, injuries, and deaths in its wake. While desomorphine was originally discovered in the United States and was later used in Switzerland , this desomorphine is more pure than codeine-based desomorphine. While the codeine in and of itself is not toxic, the other ingredients like paint thinner and gasoline make the krokodil highly toxic. Users inject the orange desomorphine in their veins. Desomorphine’s effects last approximately an hour and half and it takes approximately thirty minutes to an hour to prepare. Users are often caught in a cycle of continuously producing and using desomorphine so as to avoid withdrawal. In 2010, official estimates thought that there were between a few hundred thousand to one million krokodil users in Russia.

man on drugs

It is called krokodil, because around the site of injection the skin becomes flaky and grey or greenish, as the blood vessels pop and the flesh dies. If a user does not successfully inject the solution into a vein, it becomes an abscess automatically. Furthermore amputations, gangrene, and flesh decaying to the point that it exposes the bone is not uncommon among serious users .

The life expectancy for krokodil users is two to three years as a generous estimation . Users die from complications including blood poisoning, pneumonia, meningitis, arterial bursts, and flesh rotting away. Survivors struggle with simple tasks such as speaking and walking in addition to the many complications like amputations.

Considering the horrendous side effects, why are drug users drawn to desmorophine? Desomorphine is significantly more powerful than morphine and is three times as powerful as heroine. It is also ten times less expensive than heroine. Additionally, codeine is highly accessible at pharmacies without prescriptions and is more reliably available than heroine especially in isolated, rural areas of Russia. As Russia has had more success prevention heroine from entering the country, prices for heroine have increased and more and more addicts turn to krokodil.

Krokodil is primarily a Russian drug due to codeine’s availability. Codeine does not require a prescription in Russia and is readily available at pharmacies. Citizens are against requiring a prescription for codeine because then “legitimate” codeine users would require a prescription and theoretically krokodil users would continue to find ways to obtain codeine. Furthermore, there is already a huge population of heroine users looking for cheaper ways to get high. Russia is the world’s largest heroine consumer with its heroine usage roots in the 1979 Soviet-Afghanistan conflict. Government officials try to shut down websites containing the instructions on how to cook krokodil , however the internet is proving to be difficult to regulate. Krokodil usage has been reported in Germany.

There are many obstacles to recovering from krokodil addiction. First, there is no state-funded drug rehabilitation system, and as a result, most recovery center options are highly religious organizations. Evangelical Christians run the majority of drug rehabilitation center is Russia. Many of these Christian organizations are essentially cults. Another recovery option, Russia’s Transformation, uses recovering addicts essentially as slave labor exposing them to both violence and humiliation. Furthermore, the withdrawal is extremely painful and can last up to a month. Krokodil has swept through Russia leaving devastation, death, prostitution, and physical and mental handicaps.


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Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Featured, Latest News · Tags: amputations, codeine, codeine-based desomorphine, desomorphine, gangrene, Heroin, Heroin Addiction, krokodil, russia, treatment center

  • Mike Bayer

    omg that drug is Cray Cray!

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