This one goes out to the boys at Vape E's in Tonawanda NY who first put me onto this topic. Vapee is the premier store for all your vaping needs in the Buffalo area. If you vape and don’t go there, then punch yourself in the face.
When I first heard about this drug, I thought it sounded like something out of a bad 1970’s sci-fi movie, where one dose can get you hooked for life and will eventually lead to your death if you don’t keep taking it. But unlike the flying car, human ingenuity along with basement chemistry skills has turned this tired TV trope into science fact!
|And you thought crack whores were bad!|
Krokodil, known medically as desomorphine, was actually first developed in 1932 by Swiss chemists as a fast acting pain killer without the nausea and breathing problems associated with higher levels of morphine. However, as with any opiate, severe chemical dependence reared its ugly head and the drug was shelved. In the US it is categorized as a schedule 1 drug by the FDA, meaning that it has no legal medical uses.
It reared its ugly head again in Siberia in 2002, where after a heroin panic shortage broke out, it was used as a substitute for the narcotic and then quickly replaced it. This was primarily due to Russia’s loose over-the-counter pharmaceutical laws regarding codeine. Krokodil apparently costs a tenth of the price of heroin with a stronger kick. It is made on a regular stove by cooking up codeine with paint thinner, gasoline, hydrochorlic acid, iodine, ethanol, and the red phosphorus that match heads are made from. It is essentially a corrosive acid with narcotic side effects. Yummy!
Krokodil begins with a massive high (surprise surprise) lasting around two hours, after which the user goes into immediate severe withdrawal. Many counselors and doctors dealing with Krokodil junkies have reported it as the most savage level of addiction that they have ever seen, and the hardest that they’ve had to cure. Those who do manage to shake it off are usually left with speech impediments, vacant gaze, and nerve damage.
Now here’s the real kicker, the drug, once injected begins to eat its way out of the user’s body, opening large holes in the face and limbs that can reach all the way down to the bone, sometimes rotting off completely. This begins to manifest with a scaly greenish-brown abscess reminiscent of a crocodile’s hide. Due to its usually less than hygienic cooking process, impurities are rampant in every batch leading to an entire cornucopia of wonderfully horrible side effects, such as blood clots, gangrene, blood and bone infections, meningitis, liver damage, kidney damage, and brain damage. Additional problems also sometimes occur when the user misses the vein and injects the stuff into his flesh, causing an immediate necrotizing effect.
The toxicity of this substance is so great that the life expectancy of an addict is two years at most. And it has now skipped across the pond! Cases are springing up all across North and South America. So far it is usually relegated to the poorest areas where glue and paint huffing are standard recreation, but some authorities say that the problem is growing.
Have fun and caveat emptor!