Last year an alarming article (”Krokodil: The drug that eats junkies”) appeared in the pages of Britain’s Independent newspaper that alerted the rest of the world to Russia’s home-made heroin substitute, Krokodil.
When we posted an excerpt from the article on DM, along with some photos we found on Google images, many of our readers thought it was a hoax.
It’s not a hoax.
Krokodil—or desomorphine—is approximately 8x stronger than heroin, yet costs just a tenth of the price and is easily synthesized, even by amateur “chemists” from codeine, gasoline or paint thinner, iodine and red phosphorus. The ingredients can be bought in any Russian drug store (cough medicines, paracetamol, even certain kinds of eye drops). The toxic chemicals in krokodil rots the flesh—and eventually even the bones—of its users. Limb amputation is not uncommon, although such an occasion is usually not enough of an excuse to actually quit taking the drug. Krokodil causes such horrific tissue damage that the life expectancy of a krokodil addict is but two to three years.
It’s a nightmare strait out of an early David Cronenberg film. I mean seriously, fucking limb amputation? Krokodil appears to do the same sort of violence to a junkie’s body that a flesh-eating bacteria would if left untreated… for months. It’s some seriously grim shit and once someone is hooked on the drug, the only known cure seems to be a young death.
Although the US DEA has issued field alerts about Krokodil, there have been no reported instances of finding it anywhere in this country. Sadly, the opposite is true in Russia, the former Soviet satellite states and parts of the Middle East. In Russia, where the krokodil epidemic is by far the worst, authorities have confiscated 65 million doses of the deadly street drug and have even found pregnant women addicted to the drug in these squalid shooting galleries.
Not sure who took these, they were posted on Imgur without attribution.
The krokodil high lasts only 90-minutes, so there needs to be a “cook” working full time in a krokodil house.
Above, a powerful piece on Russian krokodil addicts from Vice.