Russia has seen its share of drug epidemics, but none as disgusting as this. In the past five years, there has been an outbreak of the tremendously damaging new designer drug called ‘krokadil’ or ‘the Crocodile drug.’
What is it?
For those who don’t know, a designer drug is one that is either created or marketed to avoid the provisions of existing drugs laws, usually by modifying their chemical structure. Krokadil is a derivative of morphine or heroin; its medical name is desomorphine, a “synthetic opiate that is created from a complex chain of mixing and chemical reactions.”
The drug produces similar effects to that of heroin, but is three times more potent plus it costs a fraction of the price. The inevitable outcome of this deadly equation is soaring popularity among young people, especially in poorer, more remote and colder areas of Russia. Since 2009, the amount of krokadil seized has increased 23 times over. During the first three months of 2011 alone, 65 million doses were confiscated by the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia.
The problem has been drawn to the attention of President Dmitri Medvedev by FDCS officials and governors of regions in which half of addictions and drug-related deaths were attributed to Krokadil use. President Medvedev realized the scope of the problem when he internet searched ‘krokadil’ and a multitude of pages discussing recipes and usage instructions came up in the results.
You want to put that in your body…?
Recovering addict Irina Pavlova can vouch for the simplicity of concocting the drug. To make krokadil, addicts mix the active and widely available component codeine together with gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine, red phosphorous, and other accessible household ingredients.
What are the side effects?
The side affects are almost too horrible to look at. The drug gets its name ‘Crocodile’ from the green, scaly skin that forms near injection sites as a result of bursting blood vessels and dying tissue.
Krokadil literally is a flesh-eating drug—as you will see from the pictures, if you can stomach them. Flesh, whether it’s the arms or legs or anywhere else on the body becomes grey and peels away until bones are exposed entirely. Because the drug is visibly eating at your body, most users don’t live beyond two or three years unless one manages to quit like Pavlova. Be warned, however—there are permanent side effects for someone like her who used the drug every day for six years. Pavlova now suffers a speech impediment and loss of motor skills from permanent brain damage.
Some are attributing Krokodil to the ‘zombie apocolypse’ a term that describes the psychotic side effects of taking such designer drugs. Though bath salts and K2 may cause users to attack other people (and even bite them), krokodil is on a whole different level with its flesh-eating ability turn any normal human into the walking dead. In other words, it’s not your fault if you mistake a krokodil user for a real-life zombie.
So far Russia is the only country where the drug has been a pandemic; the DEA has not reported any cases in the U.S. so far, though one spokesman reports he wouldn’t be surprised when that day comes.
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