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Krokodil: The Most Dangerous Drug Ever

By James Donahue

A new synthetic heroin is catching on in Russia that is so deadly, it literally kills users by eating them alive. Its attraction is that it is a cheap fix for heroin addicts who can’t afford the price of real heroin.

Russia, which sent armed forces into Afghanistan before the United States did, now like the U.S. is dealing with a high rate of heroin use among its people. Afghanistan’s main agricultural crop is the poppy flower, from which the opiate drugs are manufactured.

Currently Russia tops the world in the number of heroin users. It is estimated that up to two million Russians are hooked on this destructive and addictive narcotic. But the world’s active "war on drugs" has forced the price of heroin up, and many addicts have been looking for less costly ways to satisfy their body’s call for regular hits. And thus this new drug, nicknamed "crocodile" from its generic nickname "krokodil" was created. The first reaction makes the skin appear scaly, thus the name. It is a synthetic opiate called desomorphine.

This drug, created from cooking codeine-based pain pills, can be easily manufactured in a home lab, is cheap to make, and many times more powerful than straight heroin. The bad news is that it will hook you on the first dose and will destroy your body starting first with the skin and then the bones. Addicts keep taking the drug even as arms and legs begin to fall off.

Dr. Artyom Yegorov, who works in a drug treatment center in St. Petersburg, says desomorphine addiction in nearly impossible to cure. "With hheroin withdrawal the ain symptoms last for five to 10 days. With krokodil, the pain can last up to a month, and it's unbearable. They have to be injected with extremely strong tranquilisers just to keep them from passing out from the pain," Yegorov said.

Krokodil users stink of iodine. The smell is in their skin, in their clothes and where ever they live. A home used as a krokodil cooking house is destroyed as a place for anyone to live since the smell cannot be removed.

Unlike heroin, where a hit can last for several hours, the effects of krokodil only last about 90 minutes or up to two hours. The "cooking" process takes about 30 minutes. Thus being a krokodil addict becomes a full-time job. Users can't even sleep because they have to stay up at night just to prepare their next fix.

The general result in turning to krokodil is that addicts keep using until they are dead.