Friday, 5 December 2014

Russian Crocodile (the zombie drug that eats junkies)

I have been postponing this article for a long time because I couldn't find enough information on this serious topic. It appears that there is a flesh-eating drug, becoming ever so "famous" in Russia, named Krokodil (Crocodile). But what is in fact Krokodil, its components, its origin, side-effects, short/long term effects. This post is the informational fix you've been longing for. And now that I noticed the drug has entered the United States it is time to blow the alarm. Be ready because this is no fun at all, this is serious stuff as you will be able to judge right after I go through the answers for most of the questions we have on the matter. I hope that after these you can be aware that this new mixture can really "zombify" the bodies of people close to you.

What is Krokodil?
Krokodil is an opioid derivative of codeine named Krokodil in the streets, but its real name for pharmacists would be Desomorphine, plus a lot of other noxious ingredients mixed by street dealers. Among these hazardous compounds one can find gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine, red phosphorous [1, 2]. Let me very briefly explain a few concepts to you: opioids are medications that relieve pain and codeine is a medicine used to treat mild to moderate pain. This drug can be produced just like illicit metamphetamine is "cooked". The name Krokodil clearly derives from the green, dark, dead and moribund aspect the flesh gains as if one was turning into a crocodile (see image).

Where did it come from?
Apparently, it was first formulated in 1932 as a derivative of morphine; it is patented in Switzerland under the brand name Permonid [3]. Permonid is known to be 8 to 10 times stronger than morphine, and because people are always looking for incredibly stupid ways of destroying their lives, it became a recreational drug for hardcore junkies. Later in 2002 this drug jumped frontiers and "landed" in cold rural Russia, turning into a customary drug due to the easiness of manufacturing protocols [1]. It was actually an Afghan fungal crop disease that reduced opium production by 48%, back in 2010, that made people move from heroin to injectable over-the-counter codeine (easily found in compositions for common colds and cough) [2].

What are the effects of using Krokodil?
It has sedative and analgesic effects, but let me tell you of the most visible and shocking ones. The compounds within cause blood poisoning and the acids cause vessels to burst, and then corrosion of the tissues occurs all the way to the bone. Open ulcers, infections, gangrene, limb amputations. Liver and kidney damage. The typical rotting gums and tooth loss [2]. Etc Etc Etc to the classical HIV.

Is Krokodil addictive?
Tremendously! Especially considering that it costs a third of the common street heroin. There are now over a million people in Russia ghastly dying on Krokodil, but it has also been reported in other places like Germany, Georgia, Ukraine, Norway and Kazakhstan [2].

How do I know my friend is on Krokodil?
Oh you'll know, and that will not be Shawn of the Dead fun.


[1] Why are millions addcited to a drug that eats  the flesh of their bones?, Forbes, [http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2013/12/10/why-are-millions-addicted-to-a-drug-that-eats-the-flesh-off-their-bones/], last visited on the 5th of December, 2015; last update on the 12th of October, 2013.

2] Krokodil (Desomorphine), [http://www.drugs.com/illicit/krokodil.html], last visited on the 5th of December 2015, last updated on the 21st of October, 2014.

[3] Permonid - PubChem, [http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5362456#section=Top', last visited on the 5th of December 2015, last update unknown.

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