There are drugs on our streets that can kill. These drugs can destroy people’s lives, their relationships and their contact with reality, through the invisible plague of addiction.
But there’s a synthetic drug that has been dubbed the world’s most deadly. It kills the very body its users stand in, attacking and eating their flesh. It’s called Krokodil – or the ‘Zombie Drug’ – and it is rife in certain areas of Russia.
During the height of its popularity, an estimated 1 million Russians were using the drug, and reports suggest that it has been found in certain areas of the United States too.
Krokodil, as the drug is known, has seen its use decline in Russia since usage peaked in 2012, but its effects are still being felt by addicts.
Krokodil, or desomorphine is a street drug derived from morphine with powerful and fast-acting opioid effects. It is cheap to produce and can be synthesised using products you could find in your local pharmacy; including hydrochloric acid, paint thinner and red phosphorous harvested from, as Breaking Bad taught us, everyday boxes of matches.
The primary ingredient of Krokodil is codeine, an over the counter painkiller.
However, the impurities of the codeine cut with other byproducts are not removed during cooking. These impurities are what gives Krokodil its zombie-like qualities.
Other side effects include gangrene, pneumonia, rotting bones and brain damage.
Many user accounts suggest they were sold their first hit of Krokodil on the black market under the guise of heroin, with a similar high but at a fraction of the price.
Krokodil abuse has seen a drastic decline in recent years; its fall from favour has been nearly as fast as its epidemic rise.
All that remains is the hole of devastation left by many hundreds of deaths, caused by addiction to this dangerous, damaging substance.