Krokodil (the Russian word for crocodile) is the street name for the synthetic opiate desomorphine, which is a schedule I controlled substance classified by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That classification means that the drug has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical value.

Krokodil is infamous for being a cheaper alternative to heroin and leaving dry, scaly marks on the skin after use. The chemicals used to produce krokodil: iodine and phosphorous are often not removed from the final product. Injecting compounds containing these elements causes injection-site damage to the skin, muscle, blood vessels and bone. The effects of the drug and the risks of injectable drugs overall make tissue damage and amputation a likely result of using the drug. A person using krokodil can also develop large, dry and scaly patches of dead skin all over their body — hence the name, krokodil.

Because of those dramatic physical side effects of the drug, and the dangers of addiction in general, people using krokodil should consider seeking treatment and rehab for their substance use disorder.

How is Krokodil Addiction Treated?

Since krokodil is a synthetic opioid, treatment for krokodil addiction is very similar to how other opioid addictions are treated. The opioid epidemic raised awareness for the need for opioid treatment facilities, so an individual living with a substance use disorder can easily seek out professional treatment through a treatment facility like The Recovery Village.

Patients seeking treatment at a facility will have to detox from substances and face withdrawal symptoms before they can begin to address their addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders through therapy. By seeking help at a professional treatment facility, people can experience withdrawal symptoms in a safe and supportive environment, greatly reducing the chance that they experience a setback in their sobriety.

Because krokodil causes dramatic physical damage to individuals who use it, inpatient treatment and rehab may work best for addressing krokodil addiction.

Inpatient Rehab for Krokodil Addiction

Inpatient rehab is a readily available option and may be necessary for many individuals who use krokodil. The medical issues associated with krokodil use mean that primary care staff may need to be available for wound care. The tissue damage caused by krokodil is often profound, with visible scarring and the loss of skin even after injecting the drug only one time. Patients may require hospitalization before they are cleared for inpatient rehab.

Inpatient rehab usually involves multiple treatment methods like medication, talk therapy, and group therapy. Medication may involve drugs for nausea, vomiting, tremors, cravings, sweating, seizures, diarrhea, body aches and hallucinations.

Once the acute withdrawal phase is over, psychiatric and therapeutic care begins. Rehab may involve talk or group therapy, depending on the needs of the patient.

How Long Is Krokodil Rehab?

Rehab for krokodil may be longer than other drugs because of the complex medical issues the drug causes. However, after these medical issues stabilize, krokodil rehab can vary from a month to several months, just like other opioids. The length of rehab depends on how the person responds to treatment.

Ongoing Recovery for Krokodil Addiction

For ongoing recovery, a long-term group therapy like Narcotics Anonymous is recommended. Long-term therapy depends on several factors: a strong social support system, follow-up medical and psychiatric care, and positive opportunities like new employment or hobbies. Maintaining good social and medical support can be achieved through a variety of ways and each person experiences success differently.

How to Find the Right Rehab for Krokodil Addiction

If you or a loved one use krokodil, or any other substance, consider seeking treatment at The Recovery Village. Contact a representative at The Recovery Village today to learn how substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders are treated in a safe and professional environment. Drugs like krokodil are dangerous. Don’t delay seeking treatment. Begin your healthier future today.


Drug Enforcement Administration. “Desomorphine.” October, 2013. Accessed April 9, 2019.

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. “Krokodil.” February 2012. Accessed April 17, 2019. 

Share on Social Media: