Saturday, July 9, 2011

Krokodil: The New Demon Drug

It's been over a decade since Oxycotin became the last new demon drug fad, but now it looks like there's a new kid on the block: krokodil, or crocodile. A designer drug especially popular in Russia, it's related to morphine, made from codeine and both highly addictive and deadly. From
The active component is codeine, a widely sold over-the-counter painkiller that is not toxic on its own. But to produce krokodil, whose medical name is desomorphine, addicts mix it with ingredients including gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous, which they scrape from the striking pads on matchboxes. In 2010, between a few hundred thousand and a million people, according to various official estimates, were injecting the resulting substance into their veins in Russia, so far the only country in the world to see the drug grow into an epidemic.

It seems to have first appeared in Siberia and the Russian Far East around 2002, but only in the past three years has it spread throughout the country. Since 2009, the amount of krokodil seized in Russia has increased 23-fold, according to the head of the Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov. In the first three months of this year alone, the service says, it confiscated 65 million doses...

The "rotting" explains the drug's nickname. At the injection site, which can be anywhere from the feet to the forehead, the addict's skin becomes greenish and scaly, like a crocodile's, as blood vessels burst and the surrounding tissue dies. Gangrene and amputations are a common result, while porous bone tissue, especially in the lower jaw, often starts to dissipate, eaten up by the drug's acidity...

The Curse of the Crocodile: Russia's Deadly Designer Drug
Simon Shuster
Monday, June 20, 2011,8599,2078355,00.html

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