ad·dic·tion (-dkshn) n. 1. a. Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance: a drug used in the treatment of heroin addiction.
Vladimir Putin is one of the most hard line leaders in modern politics. So much so that his effective crackdown on illicit drugs flooding Russia from Afghanistan and Tajikistan has spawned something out of a science fiction horror film: Krokodil: Russia’s cheap designer drug that rots flesh and exposes bone and is a live volatile compound that wreaks havoc inside the brain and blood, and ultimately causes swift painful death.
The war that countries wage on drugs has the net effect of making dealers and addicts more inventive, as the USA is experiencing a prescription drugs epidemic and drugs like Salvia and BathSalts are being sold legally on the Internet.
However, board certified addiction specialist and founder of Inspire Malibu, Dr. R.A. Mohammad tells Monsters and Critics, government has responsibility to treat the patients who have the fatal disease of addiction. He says. “As we fight Mosquitoes who spread various illnesses, we treat the patients who are inflicted with mosquito borne diseases.”
Dr. Mohammad says of Krokodil, “Since this drug has now hit the USA, we must educate people about the dangers associated with this drug… its effects, prevention and importance of early intervention. This drug will kill you within a year, it’s a suicide drug, no other drug will kill you faster, except an overdose of opiates.”
“Addicted people,” says Dr. Mohammad, “need continuous treatment. They will find their ‘high’ at a cost to their health, financial soundness, family well being. They risk everything and will not stop until they’re contained in a clinical environment and detoxified, and their disease is monitored the rest of their lives in a medically sound way.”
The price of Krokodil is low but the side effects are pure horror show. Krokodil causes immediate necrotising flesh (rot) in the dermis and subsequent deterioration in fascia, tendons, ligaments and ultimately exposes bone while the body frantically churns massive rivers of pus to the exposed lesions, smelling like death and creating septic conditions that guarantee the user a very short life span.
Warning: Disturbing images of the effects of Krokodil here. This article may be shocking or upsetting for some people. Please proceed with caution.
What is in Krokodil?
The drug is essentially homemade desomorphine which is created by using codeine and other ingredients, such as gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine, and red phosphorus. All of these ingredients are chemically volatile, caustic and lethal.
“In Russia, where its use originated, codeine was legal without a prescription until the government cracked down on it in 2011,” says Dr. Mohammad. “The raw ingredients were easy to obtain, and the black market to make this heroin-like substance exploded.”
Dr. Mohammad tells us what to expect when using this drug. “When users inject the drug into a vein or muscle, it takes effect within a matter of minutes, but the high it gives is short-lived, around two hours.”
“There is such a wide gap in the chemical compounds’ makeup that goes well beyond being impure, the skin around the injection site often begins to turn greenish-gray and scaly, which lends some truth in advertising by the very name of it [Krokodil]. Whatever the case, the skin becomes gangrenous and amputation and ultimately death are the net results.”
Like Methamphetamine, the users must “cook” the drug – which takes about 30 minutes – inject it, then about 30 minutes to an hour and a half later they must repeat this process. Krokodil, says Dr. Mohammad, is several times stronger than Heroin and causes dependence after only two IV injections.
Dr. Mohammad outlined the effects the drug has on the user. “Krokodil’s effects on the brain and other organs is swift and non reversible. Particles of heavy metals contained in gasoline deposit permanently in the brain, heart, lungs, liver and other organs too. Also the highly unsanitary preparation of Krokodil can introduce different viruses and bacteria into the blood stream and those effects also play havoc by damaging internal organ systems.”
Dr. Mohammad adds, “Therefore, Krokodil users die from multi-organ failure often times within one year of use. Only very early intervention can save them – within the first two months – after just three or four months of use they cannot be treated and eventually the outcome is certain death.”
The final “cooked” product is described by experts as an orange-colored liquid, with the presence of hydrochloric acid in the solution prior to injection, with red phosphorous (obtained by the striker match heads from matchboxes) adding even more toxicity to sicken the user.
Codeine, a readily available narcotic, can be turned into desomorphine in a chemical deconstruction and combination with active agents and then injected intravenously by the user. Heroin is hard to find, and may cost $150 US and up per use, Krokodil can be obtained for $6-$8 US per injection according to CNN.
Symptoms can last up to month, the recidivism rates due to the lack of proper medical facilities in Russia to detoxify a patient add to the overall problem in their country.
“All parents and doctors need to understand the gravity of this new illegal drug and educate young people that there is no going back,” warns Dr. Mohammad.