A new and dangerous drug epidemic is making its way from Russia to the US. Krokodil, also known as desomorphine, is now making headlines throughout the country. However, many still have questions about the drug, even though they run the risk of addiction.
The Dangers of Krokodil
Krokodil is a highly addictive homemade opioid that emerged in Siberia and Russia in the early 2000’s as a cheaper, more potent alternative to heroin. The street name means crocodile and comes from the scaly texture and gangrenous rot it gives a user’s skin. It typically includes a combination of codeine and numerous other toxic additives. These can include:
- Lighter fluid
- Paint thinner
- Red phosphorus
These household chemicals make the drug injectable. They’re also responsible for its gruesome and dangerous side effects. Though Krokodil gives users an intense high, it’s a short euphoria. Users quickly experience withdrawal symptoms as well as adverse skin problems. The chemical additives cause blood vessels to burst. This can lead to open sores, necrosis, and even rotting flesh. This can easily turn into a serious infection that could require amputation. There’s also significant brain damage in association with Krokodil use. This damage can potentially affect memory, mobility, and speech. After injecting Krokodil for the first time, the life expectancy of a user is 2 years or less.
Krokodil in the United States
Krokodil is made by both dealers and users as an inexpensive and strong heroin-like product. However, because the high is shorter-lasting, the drug is highly addictive. It’s estimated that nearly one million Russians are suffering from Krokodil addiction. This is an especially frightening number considering the short life expectancy after use. Now, Krokodil cases are suddenly appearing in:
Fears in the US are surmounting. Though none of these reports have been confirmed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) due to lack of drug sampling, the doctors insist these are Krokodil cases and the DEA recently expressed conscious concern that the drug may be out there. Two apparent Krokodil addicted sisters out of Illinois claim that they got hooked on the drug unknowingly after buying what they thought was cheap heroin from their drug dealer. Within weeks, they developed the trademark skin lesions and health problems but were already addicted.
Morningside Recovery and Krokodil
Dr. Gerald Grosso, clinical director of Morningside Recovery, speaks in an article for CBS News on the addictive nature of desomorphine and other opiates. According to Dr. Grosso, for many users, continued use despite the corrosive effects may not necessarily be about the high. As he explains, “When people are using [Krokodil] it’s not so much about getting a high anymore, it’s more about not going through withdrawals.”
Despite the poisonous and upsetting nature of Krokodil, the media frenzy surrounding it with these sporadic reports is unwarranted, given a number of other drugs that pose a greater threat to the American populous. This includes the growing problem with prescription opiates and heroin, which Grosso reaffirms are gateways to Krokodil use. Thus, an effective tactic against Krokodil becoming widespread is reigning in prescription drug addiction.
Recent efforts from the FDA to restrict the prescription and refills of narcotics is promising, but there are also simple steps that you can take. Since most first-time prescription drug users get pills from a home medicine cabinet, locking away medication and disposing of unused pills can effectively reduce addiction risk, which on a mass scale can further prevent Krokodil from becoming America’s newest drug epidemic.
Fighting the Drug Epidemic with Morningside Recovery
Morningside Recovery is ready to do our part in the fight against the current drug epidemic. To learn more about Morningside Recovery and our available addiction treatment services, reach out today. Call now at 855-631-2135 to speak with a team member and start making better decisions, every day.