crocodile drug

What Is The Crocodile Drug? (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES)


The crocodile drug (also known as krokodil) is a semi-synthetic drug used as a cheap alternative to heroin. It is the active ingredient in Desomorphine, and it is an addictive and destructive drug that is widely used in Russia and Eastern Europe. It is often homemade by mixing codeine with organic solvents to produce a synthetic form of heroin and it’s ten times stronger than morphine.

Crocodile Drug Pictures

Underneath you can find some disturbing pictures of the severe side effects of the Crocodile Drug.

What Is The Crocodile Drug?

Very little is known about the physical effects of the crocodile drug. In Russia, where it is most popular, people combine tablets containing codeine, an opioid painkiller, with other medications and toxic substances to make desomorphine. Things like lighter fluid, household cleaners, gasoline and hydrochloric acid are some of the substances that are combined with codeine to make the crocodile drug.

This homemade recipe is very effective when it comes to keeping users high in the short term, making them addicted and needing more of the drug to work. This drug is considered a new and not well known in the United States as it has been banned for more than a century. A few years ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared that there were no confirmed cases of their use or spread in the US. It is classified as a Class A drug, which is highly addictive and dangerous. Media reports from Russia have stated that the spread of the drug is taking place across the country and that it continues to threaten lives across the nation.

necrotic skin
Graphic image of necrotic skin due to use of crocodile drug (desomorphine)

Crocodile Drug In Russia

The misuse of Desomorphine in Russia attracted international attention in 2010, as illegal production increased due to its simple synthesis from codeine, which is over-the-counter. Abuse of homemade Desomorphine was first reported in Siberia in 2003, after Russia launched a major crackdown on heroin production and trafficking, and then spread to neighbouring former Soviet republics.

The street name in Russia for homemade Desomorphine is crocodile drug (Russian: Krokodil) due to its similarity to the skin damage that occurs to crocodile leather. The effects that the users get from the drug is similar to that of methamphetamine. Like methamphetamine, it is produced in a way that can be contaminated with various active ingredients.

Below is a list of other mentions of the crocodile drug around the world:

  • An estimated 100,000 people in Russia and 20,000 in Ukraine use the crocodile drug.
  • One death in December 2011 in Poland is believed to have been caused by the use of the drug.
  • Its use in Russian expatriate communities in a number of other European countries has been confirmed.
  • In 2013, two cases of crocodile drug use were reported in the United States.
  • Desomorphine was used in Switzerland and Russia for many years to treat severe pain, but its use ceased in 1981 after it was used in Bern, Switzerland, to treat a single person for a rare disease.
  • A single case of desomorphine use was reported in Spain in 2014, where it was consumed by injection.
  • Crocodile drug consumption has increased significantly since 2012 due to difficulties in obtaining heroin.
  • In 2012, the Russian government introduced new restrictions on the sale of drugs containing codeine. It has reduced, but not obliterated, its use in Russia.
krokodil drug
Effects of the ‘zombie drug‘ – blood vessels and skin tissue die around the injection site.

Effects Of The Crocodile Drug

The crocodile drug is known as a zombie drug because of its effects. The drug causes the body of the users to rot from the inside out. Users have crocodile-like skin on the injection site, which is extremely painful and can cause users to feel as if they have burns on the inside of their skin. The rotting skin attacks blood vessels and muscles and can spread infection to the bone.

Crocodile drug injection can cause necrosis, a condition in which blood flow to certain parts of the body causes living tissue to die. Necrosis can cause the skin to become black, flaky and eventually it falls off. This condition is not curable and can lead to other diseases called thrombophlebitis and gangrene. The only effective treatment for necrosis and thrombosis / gangrene is amputation of the affected area.

There have been several unconfirmed reports of users in the US having extreme skin ulcers, infections and scaly skin after using the crocodile drug. According to some reports, local soft tissue effects can also occur after taking the drug. The most common complications after a crocodile drug injection appear to be severe vein damage, soft tissue infections, necrosis and gangrene. There have also been reports of amputations.

Other organs and the central nervous system can be damaged. It appears that ulcers may occur at drug injection sites or in remote parts of the body.

Reports of health risks associated with the use of crocodile drug injections include:

  • vascular damage (thrombophlebitis, open ulcers, gangrene)
  • skin and soft tissue infections
  • need for skin grafts or surgery
  • limb amputation
  • pneumonia
  • blood poisoning
  • bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream)
  • meningitis
  • rotting gums and teeth
  • blood-borne viruses (transmission of HIV and HCV through needle exchange)
  • bone infections
  • osteomyelitis
  • osteone

Animal experiments on rats have shown heart failure and kidney toxicity. Addiction is an obvious problem when using the crocodile drug due to its high opioid content and short duration of effect.

Frequent administration can lead to binge patterns that last for days. There is also an increased risk of exhaustion, sleep deprivation, memory loss and speech problems. Variations in effectiveness and homemade recipes can also increase the risk of overdose.

zombie drug
Life expectancy of crocodile drug users falls to only 1-2 years after first use.

Treatment & Rehabilitation

Long-term addiction treatment includes rehab to help sufferers combat the causes of their addictive behaviour, establish a solid foundation for sobriety and develop vital life skills to help them stay sober over the long term. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has confirmed that long-term addiction treatment of at least 90 days is the most effective timescale for lowering the risk of relapse. After detoxifying from the crocodile drug, people with a history of opioid abuse may find it helpful to sign up for a community support program.

There are many different ways to pay for rehab, including health insurance, benefits, EAPs ( Employee Assistance Programs), financing, health loans, credit cards, crowdfunding, and HSA funds. The cost of an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program can vary depending on the type of facility, equipment and location, the treatment services offered, and much more.

If you are considering withdrawal therapy from the crocodile drug, you can expect to work with addiction professionals and sober peers to accomplish the following goals:

  • learn about the disease, addiction treatment and recovery process
  • acquire life skills such as coping with triggers, cravings and high-risk situations
  • work in a recovery program such as a 12-step program
  • attend group counselling or individual counselling sessions
  • work on the underlying psychological issues that contribute to your addictive behaviour

Addiction therapy goals can be achieved through various types of evidence-based treatment methods. These include cognitive behavioural therapy, educational lectures, family therapy, peer support and other specialised therapies.

Crocodile drug rehabilitation can take many different forms, depending on your treatment needs, your financial capacity and the resources available to you. The two most common types of drug rehabilitation programs are inpatient rehabilitation programs and outpatient rehabilitation programs. An addiction therapist can help you determine which type is right for you.

Clients stay in a rehabilitation centre for the duration of the treatment and follow a structured daily routine with counselling sessions and take part in various therapy and recovery group activities. Patients take part in a series of group outpatient sessions where they live at home and do homework in their own home while fulfilling obligations to family, employers and education during treatment.

In most cases, inpatient crocodile drug rehabilitation is ideal for people with severe and long-lasting addiction. On the other hand outpatient rehabilitation is ideal for those who need to continue working, schooling or those who need to stay at home while completing rehab for more complex treatment needs.

After Crocodile Drug Rehabilitation, people can choose to continue their treatment with ongoing treatment options such as a sober housing programs or follow-up programs. These types of treatment programs provide lifelong support and recovery to prevent relapses.

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