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article imageWhat are the origins of the flesh eating drug krokodil?

By Tim Sandle     Sep 27, 2013 in Lifestyle
The drug desomorphine (also known as krokodil) has spread through Europe and it has reached the U.S. The drug is an opiate with a serious side effect: addicts develop dark, scaly lesions on their skin.
The Digital Journal's Brett Wilkins has reported that krokodil has been found to be used in the U.S. state of Arizona. New reports suggest that the drug has appeared in other parts of the U.S. as well.
The illegal drug desomorphine is closely related to morphine and heroin. Although demorphine was first patented in 1932 in the U.S., as a derivative of morphine, the current 'street versions' are largely developed in Russia as cheap alternatives to heroin. The drug did, nonetheless, have a legitimate period of use. It was It was used in Switzerland under the brand name Permonid, produced by the 'big pharma' company Roche. At this time it was potent, but not "flesh eating." The body damaging "side effects" come from the impure sources of codeine and the methods of manufacture. In its current street form, the drug was first reported as being used in eastern Siberia in 2002.
The drug can manufactured in the kitchens of dealers by combining codeine with gasoline, oil, alcohol or paint thinner. Access to over-the-counter pharmacy products containing codeine is relatively easy in Russia, according to Time magazine.
The drug has sedative and analgesic effects, and is around 8-10 times more potent than morphine. It also has a fast onset and a short duration of action. However, due to desomorphine’s short duration, users have to shoot up more frequently the users of other drugs. This leads to collapsed veins and injections that miss veins.
Krokodil is injected with a hypodermic needle, and necrosis, the death and decay of living tissue, can quickly set in, according to a report in the Journal of Addictive Diseases. Gangrene and amputations are common among addicts, who have an average life span of about three years, according to the Daily Mail. Addiction is common because the level of opiates but the addiction on par with heroin.
It is these effects on the skin (so-termed 'flesh eating') that has given the drug its street name of 'krokodil' (a reptilian sounding phrase, the Independent notes). However, other sources, like Technooccult state that the street name arises because the drug is is derived from a chemical called a-chlorocodide.
More about Krokodil, street drug, Drugs, Illegal drugs, Heroin
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