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A Terrifying Drug: Krokodil

Russia is in the headlines for their election tampering in the U.S., but something that has been swept under the rug is their drug use. The most devastating of these drugs is desomorphine, also known as krokodil. It’s a street drug that is somewhat common in Russia. It’s also an opioid, which is actually tearing apart many American families right now.

Repeated krokodil use causes the skin to harden and become scale-like, such as like a crocodile. The name either came from this or from one of the chemicals that is used to make it, chlorocodide. On that note, krokodile is made of codeine, red phosphorus, iodine, and other rather disgusting chemicals. Up until 2012, krokodil saw increasing rates of abuse until codeine was regulated.

The most sinister drug ever created could be made in the back rooms of Russia. There was a shortage of heroin in the country, so local dealers decided to cook up krokodil to make some cash. Many of these dealers don’t cook it cleanly or remove any of the negative chemicals that are involved in the synthesis of krokodil. Krokodil can literally destroy, disintegrate, and eat away at the body.

Time magazine called it the zombie drug because users die within three years of exposure to the drug. It makes blood vessels burst. At the point of injection, the tissues can also die. It can literally make the body fall apart in chunks. There are images of bones completely exposed to the air. That’s why pictures won’t be linked.

The drug hasn’t stayed isolated in the massive country. The drug was spotted in America in 2013. There were two Chicago sisters taking it according to The Huffington Post. They believed it was heroin. It’s rare in the U.S., but these two sisters definitely struggled with their krokodile use. One suffered from gangrene. For better or for worse, heroin is more common in America, so the need for krokodil isn’t as high.