WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT AND IMAGES
We’ve all seen the infamous “Faces of Meth,” chronicling the rapid and horrific decline of meth users from more-or-less normal looking people to walking corpses. Something worse has hit the streets of the US.
The homemade drug called Krokodil was previously seen in Russia. It is a disfiguring and lethal mix of codeine and hydrocarbons like oil, paint thinner, alcohol or gasoline. Iodine and red phosphorous are other primary ingredients. Some cooks add hydrochloric acid to the mix.
It is easy to cook in a home kitchen and takes about 30 minutes to make. Users inject this poison into their veins, and the caustic ingredients cause severe tissue damage. The first two cases in the US were reported in Arizona.
Krokodil, or desomorphine, causes damage to blood vessels and tissue at the injection site. This causes gangrene and the flesh and bone literally rots form the inside out. Some of the sores resemble crocodile skin, thus the street name. In Russia, krokodil users live two to three years.
The drug produces a heroin-like high at a bargain price. The high lasts only about 90 minutes, compared to hours-long heroin nods. The drug was first seen in Russian in 2002, but was originally patented in the US in the 1930s.
It became popular in Russia due to the difficulty and cost of obtaining heroin. The cost is three to nine times less for krokodil. Time Magazine called the narcotic “the most horrible drug in the world.”
Amputations are common, and krokodil dissolves jawbones and teeth. Blood poisoning, meningitis and burst arteries occur, and other users simply rot from the inside out. Most users who continue to use die.
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has monitored desomorphine since 2011, but does not yet regulate it. They are waiting on samples from the Arizona to confirm the presence of the drug. The DEA says two reported cases are insufficient to justify regulation. The FDA spokesperson commented, “People are mixing codeine and gasoline, and shooting it into their veins. What do they expect?”
Permanent effects of the drug, besides skin and bone rotting, including speech impediments, brain damage and erratic movements. The rotting flesh, speech problems and jerky movements have prompted people to nickname krokodil the “Zombie Drug.”
The few people who manage to quit are permanently disfigured. Withdrawal can last over a month, compared to about a week for heroin. If you want to be completely grossed out, here are some of the less graphic photos of users. Click THIS LINK for worse pictures — definitely not worth the price of the high.