Krokodil is a synthetic designer drug that has been ravaging Russia’s youth for years. Similar to morphine, Krokodil is highly addictive and highly fatal. Time reported that the life expectancy for Krokodil addict is a mere two to three years at most. Along with the normal side effects of a synthetic opioid, Krokodil has one peculiar characteristic which makes it stand out.
The Danger of Krokodil
Krokodil in Russian means “crocodile”. Giving the drug this name was not a matter of novelty but accurate description. The chemical compounds that make up Krokodil are so harmful to the human body that it creates a flesh eating response, turning people’s skin into a hardened texture resembling that of a crocodile. At the injection point, the skin turns a grey green and begins to deteriorate. Eventually, the flesh begins to rot. In extreme cases, the muscles can be eaten away to expose bare bone. “Gangrene and amputations are a common result,” Time writes, “while porous bone tissue, especially in the lower jaw, often starts to dissipate, eaten up by the drug’s acidity.”
Why Would People Do This Drug?
Like many other synthetic drugs, Krokodil offers a powerful high at a very cheap price. Synthetic opioids found on the street are abused most often out of necessity. Prescription narcotic painkillers become too expensive and heroin can be hard to find. Synthetic designer opioids like Krokodil can be home delivered through postal services because it is largely unregulated. Internet forums, social media platforms, and dark web websites all offer a hidden in plain sight marketplace for synthetic drugs.
Krokodil has codeine base. Codeine is an opioid substance usually found in cough medicines for severe bronchitis and coughs. To “cook” Krokodil, codeine is mixed with any number of harmful chemicals including gasoline and paint thinner. Many addicts become their own manufacturers because the drug is easy to produce.
Each high of Krokodil can last up to an hour and a half, while taking only an hour to produce. By the time withdrawal symptoms start to onset after the last dose, the next dose is ready.
Krokodil in America
In recent years, Krokodil made its way to America, mostly affecting the east coast and southern florida areas. The synthetic drug epidemic is growing in America but is not on the same scale as Russia. However, Krokodil addiction can still occur.
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