Krokodil is the street name for a particularly deadly drug which has become popular in recent times in certain parts of the world, most notably in Russia.
Krokodil is also known as Desomorphine, a derivative of morphine which
has powerful and particularly fast-acting opioid effects on it's users.
Desomorphine was first created in 1932 for medical use but has become
increasingly popular amongst drug addicts in Siberia and the far East.
It has been suggested that the name "Krokodil" is due to the fact that
the drug contains a pre-cursor chemical called alpha-chlorocodide.
However, it has been noted that using the drug causes users to suffer
with patches of flesh beginning to become scaly, like a crocodile. In
fact, the consequences of using krokodil can be much more severe, with many users suffering with necrosis - the death of body
tissue from lack of blood flowing to the tissue.
Effectively, the flesh of krokodil users is rotting away from the inside
out and there are some shocking photos available online of the damage
to flesh that krokodil has caused it's users. The average life-span of a
krokodil user is just two-to-three years.
Krokodil has reached epidemic proportions in Russia and usage of the
drug has already been reported in many other countries, the problem
being that krokodil can be bought and produced at a much cheaper cost than
heroin and is more readily available, as it can be created using
over-the-counter medication along with the necessary hardware.
Krokodil is made by mixing Codeine, a readily available legal drug, with
other substances such as paint thinner, hydrochloric acid and red
sulphur which is often scraped from matchboxes - the result is a
chemical mixture which has the same effect of heroin at a fraction of
the monetary cost - but at a very expensive cost to human health (and
Images of the disturbing consequences of Krokodil user can be seen here (graphic content).
[ Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library - Public Domain - commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHand_necrosis_caused_by_plague.jpg ]