The Russian word for crocodile; Krokodil is a deadly, flesh-eating drug that turns human skin green and scaly; which explains the nickname. Chemically known as desomorphine, the body is literally eaten away from the inside out with ghastly side effects producing a slow, excruciating death over a two to three year period.
The upside is, this drug resides mainly in Russia and has been under the watchful eye of the DEA for years. The downside is, two cases presenting signs of Krokodil drug use have recently been reported in America. However, Krokodil being the cause has not been confirmed.
Heroin’s Younger Brother
Krokodil was not ‘cooked up’ in America. It originated in Siberia and Russia in 2002 as a cheaper replacement for the hard-to-get heroin. Supplying the same ‘kick’ as heroin, another bonus for users is the fact that Krokodil can be made at home using ingredients found at the corner store like codeine, paint thinner, iodine, lighter fluid, alcohol, and gasoline, to name a few. When injected, the ‘high’ will kick in within 5-10 minutes and last about 60 – 90 minutes. Since it can be made at home, addicts have 24/7 access.
The Deadly Truth
If Krokodil is the latest drug to hit the streets in America potential users need to be aware of the deadly consequences and take a pass. As if crocodile skin rotting off your body is not enough:
- Gangrene leading to amputation
- Brain damage
- Dissolving bone tissue; typically the jaw bone
- Blood poisoning
- Certain death within 2-3 years
Surviving Krokodil Addiction
Attempts to reverse the effects of Krokodil may or may not be successful. According to the Banner Good Samaritan Poison & Drug Information Center’s co-medical director, Frank LoVecchio, medications may reverse some of the damage; surgery, skin grafts, and special wound care may also succeed if a user of Krokodil survives the drug. However, that is unlikely.
Alarm over the possibility of Krokodil use becoming an epidemic in America is understandable; which makes spreading the word of its dangers to the American people essential.