Healthy Living

What is Krokodil?

What is Krokodil?

Key Takeaways

  • The drug literally rots the flesh and skin revealing the muscle tissue lying beneath. 
  • Krokodil is an addicting drug.

Krokodil is a homemade street drug that is suspected to have been distributed throughout the country. It is a powerful addicting drug, and was very widespread in Russia. Chemically known as desmorphine, it started as a substitute for heroin and very soon became popular as a street drug. This opiate is made from many household chemicals like codeine-based headache pills, iodine, gasoline, paint thinner, alcohol, and other ingredients. It was first introduced in Russia, as it was difficult to smuggle other popular drugs, like heroin, into the country.

Krokodil is used mostly in the form that must be injected, as it provides a faster high than other routes of administration. The effects start within ten minutes after injecting, while it takes up to two hours to get the same effect with a pill form of the drug. The popularity of this street drug stems from the fact that it is much cheaper than other drugs like heroin. But, the high provided by krokodil is similar to that of heroin.

The side effects of this drug other than the initial high is very gruesome. The drug literally rots the flesh and skin revealing the muscle tissue lying beneath. The skin becomes scaly and green in color, giving the appearance of crocodile skin. It may lead to the formation of abscesses and sores. In some cases, it may also lead to gangrene, amputations, and even blood poisoning. Krokodil may destroy the blood vessels resulting in blockages.  This drug is often reported as one of the most horrible drugs in the world. In Russia, the average life expectancy of a person who is addicted to this drug is about two to three years. Just as in the case of other drugs, intravenous administration make them susceptible to diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. Many addicts were reported to die within two years of starting on the drugs.

Studies report that this street drug cause the strongest addiction and is very difficult to cure. The withdrawal symptoms of this drug persist for a longer duration and in most of the cases, the pain is unbearable. Krokodil addicts can be identified by the characteristic smell of iodine in their clothes.