Krokodil is an Epidemic in Russia

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

The DEA is concerned about Kokodil’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 job.

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

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 epidemic. 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 man’s 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 too scared to rob a pharmacy and is ready to cook, from injecting a similar concoction to Krokodil?

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