Krokidil (pronounced Crocodile) is a morphine substitute that seems poised to spread throughout the U.S. Scarily, it is also known as the zombie drug from the gangrenous lesions it can cause.
The drug, in a clinical form, is desomorphine, which acts similar to morphine with fewer respiratory effects, but a shorter efficacy period. The street form, known as krokodil, is easily manufactured from codeine and a few extra ingredients. Although it provides a similar high to heroin, it wears off much faster, usually after less than two hours. Heroin can remain in the system up to eight hours.
Krokodil is twice as potent as heroin and cheaper to manufacture. Production can take less than an hour. Since the illegal form is made in unsanitary conditions with dangerous additives such as gasoline or household cleaners, intravenous use destroys internal tissues. Essentially, the corrosive additives kill from the inside out. Addicts frequently die with in two years, if not faster.
Users frequently have green or black lesions around injection sites. As the damaged tissue dies, infection and gangrene sets in, giving the drug it’s horror story nickname. The drug is popular in Russia and Ukraine, where codeine is more readily available. However, cases of krokodil use have been reported in Chicago and Ohio. In some cases, the users thought they had bought heroin.
The cheap and fast production, potency, short duration, and corrosive effects makes krokodil a huge threat if it takes hold in America.