Krokodil – Heroin Derivative Destroying Lives in Russia – is the U.S. Next?

Krokodil is a drug that U.S. authorities are concerned about because it caused an epidemic in Russia.

DEA is Concerned about Kokodril’s Spread into U.S.

The pseudo-morphine drug known on the streets as Krokodil is
being watched with extreme caution by officials in the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA).  They are concerned
that this morphine derivative that has caused an epidemic in Russia will soon hit the United States.

Krokodil got its reptilian nickname because of the gruesome
side effects the poisonous ingredients have on its addicts. Often, on the user’s area
of injection the blood vessels rupture and the skin begins to die causing a
greenish and scaly appearance.

If a user misses a vein they will often get an
abscess somewhere on their body. Late stage Krokodil users will
disturbingly rot to death, having there flesh discolor to grey and literally
peel off exposing bone.

Rusty Payne, a DEA spokesman said, “We’re looking at it
overseas, but we have not seen it yet in the U.S. … But we would not be
surprised when that day comes.”

According to  many estimates Russia has the most
heroin users in the world. Since efforts to stop the flow of Afghan heroin
there has caused limited supply, the price of heroin has gone up. This makes
it hard for addicts to get there next fix and Krokodil, a synthetic opiate, is
many times more powerful than heroin and cheaper to make.

Making Krokodil

Users mix codeine, which is a drug that is used to control
moderate and mild pain, with:

  • gasoline
  • paint thinner
  • iodine
  • hydrochloric acid
  • red phosphorous

Users get the red phosphorous from the striking pad of
match boxes.

Artyom Yegorov is a doctor for a drug treatment center in Russia he said
that Krokodil users are instantly identifiable because of the way they smell.
“It’s that smell of iodine that infuses all their clothes, all you can do is
just burn the clothes.” said Dr. Artyom.

When addicts use heroin to get high, the effects can last a couple
of hours but, Krokodil only last between 90 minutes to two hours. Now add 30 minutes
for every time any addict needs to cook. This makes being an addict a full time

Dr. Ellen Marmur, chief of dermatological and cosmetic
surgery at the Mount Sinai
Medical Center
said, “Its horrible…These people are the ultimate in self-destructive drug
. Once you’re an addict at this level, any rational thinking doesn’t

Dr. Lewis Nelson, a medical toxicologist at Bellevue Hospital
Center in New
York doubts that Krokodil will ever reach the streets of the United States.
He believes that because of the availability of cheaper more powerful drugs such
as black tar heroin from Mexico
and over prescribed OxyContin, that the demand will never come. “It’s not going
to become a club drug. I can guarantee you that,” Dr. Nelson said.

The DEA has good suspicion to keep an eye on Krokodil users.
All the ingredients can be found lying around the house; and manufacturers who
cook methamphetamines use ingredients that are similar.

The United
States is having a prescription pill
. In some states the street value of an OxyContin is up to $80 per
pill. Pill addicts have relentlessly proven to what lengths they will go to
retrieve pills, from robbery to murder.

Krokodil is known in Russia as “the poor mans drug.” It is also perceived as the
fix that eases the pain before they can find a way to get there next fix. Russia
estimates that about 100,000 people are Krokodil users, knowing the
consequences of the poisonous mixture. Yet they still inject- what’s to stop a
poor American that’s to scared to rob a pharmacy and is ready to cook, from
injecting a similar concotion to Krokodil?