When most people think of drug use, they tend to think of a handful of very well-known drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. In truth, though, there are many kinds of drugs that most people have never even heard of. Some of these less well-known drugs can be even more harmful and deadly than their better-known counterparts. This fact may be illustrated nowhere better than in the case of a synthetic opioid that goes by the street name of Krokodil. Here’s what you need to know about Krokodil as a drug.
What Is Krokodil?
Krokodil, also sometimes known as the Zombie Drug, is more properly called desomorphine. The drug is a synthetic substitute for heroin and other common opiates that are frequently synthesized by drug labs. The use of Krokodil first became widespread in Russia and Ukraine, a fact reflected by the drug’s street name, which is Russian for “crocodile.” Today, however, Krokodil can be found in virtually any place where better-known opioids are either unavailable or too expensive for common users.
Krokodil is synthesized from a variety of raw ingredients that ultimately contribute to its highly addictive and highly toxic nature. Desomorphine can be derived from codeine, a fact which makes codeine tablets a common starting point for the synthesis of Krokodil. Iodine and red phosphorous, in various forms, are also added to create the drug. The resultant drug, though it has many of the same effects as heroin, is considerably more toxic and extremely dangerous even to first-time users. The relative simplicity of making the drug also makes it very difficult to stamp out.
Whereas most drugs are difficult to make or must be derived from organic sources and shipped to users, a batch of Krokodil can be made by someone with even a moderate knowledge of chemistry in under an hour without the use of any specialized equipment. The simplicity of what is in Krokodil, combined with this easy manufacturing process, has made it virtually impossible for legal measures to substantially reduce rates of Krokodil use in the countries where the drug is most prevalent.
The effects of Krokodil stem from the toxicity of its various ingredients. Krokodil’s most notable effect is severe tissue damage, both internally and externally. The drug can kill off healthy tissue or make it much more susceptible to infection. As a direct result, users often develop gangrene, eschars or both. The mixture of dead and infected skin tissue makes parts of a user’s body take on a “scaly” appearance, similar to that of a reptile’s skin. This effect is responsible for both of the drug’s most common street names, as it has been compared to both the scales of a crocodile and the appearance of a zombie.
Krokodil’s effects, though, don’t stop at the skin. Unfortunately, the same tissue damage that the drug causes to skin also affects internal organs, making them susceptible to necrosis and opportunistic infections. If soft tissue infections become severe enough, Krokodil users may require amputations or other drastic medical measures.
Aside from these direct effects, Krokodil’s risks are made worse by the fact that it is frequently made and administered under unsanitary conditions. Injections such as HIV and Hepatitis C, acquired from the needles used to inject the drug, are also a concern.
Krokodil in the United States
Though it is much more strongly associated with Russia and parts of Eastern Europe, reports of Krokodil use in the United States have been emerging recently. It is generally thought that the spread of Krokodil use into America is associated with the current opioid epidemic that is rapidly claiming lives in this country. Just as those who become addicted to prescription painkillers can turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative, heroine users may eventually be drawn to Krokodil for the same reason. As a result, the Zombie Drug is a much larger threat in the United States today than it has been at any point in the past.
If you or someone you know is addicted to the Krokodil drug, it’s critical to seek help immediately. This drug can result in permanent damage or death very quickly. For home detox services in California, contact MD Home Detox. MD Home Detox’s at-home detoxification process can help you or your loved one detox safely and in the comfort of your own home.