Thursday, October 3, 2013

Krokodil: Heroin on Krak!

Krokodil, a drug so vile that Mother Jones website referred to it as the " Zombie Apocalypse Drug Reaches US: This Is Not a Joke.". A narcotic so malevolent it would have been given a tenth circle all of its own in Dante's Inferno and upon encountering it Mr. Alighieri, and his Roman poet friend Virgil, would have high tailed it all the way back up through the nine circles of hell crying 'Mommy', and given the fright they got, completely forgetting about their intended destination in Purgatorio.

The illicit drug was concocted in Russia as a cheap and impure substitute for heroin, but would-be-zombies need not travel to “ Mother Russia” to get it. They can waste away nearer to home, perhaps in Arizona, where someone has apparently cooked it up and as expected crawled into an emergency ward rather promptly. Why crawled? Because people who shoot this venomous mix up their veins display green, scaly reptilian skin as the first stage of tissue decomposition, hence the ‘Krokodil’ moniker; Russian for crocodile.

While Methamphetamine disfigures addicts faces by giving them a toothless “ meth mouth” grin, Desomorphine (chemical name for Krokodil) goes a lot deeper. It will rot the gums, the jaw, the skin, the flesh, the veins and muscle tissue along the limbs. It is like a bomb that goes off inside a person, albeit slowly, but exposes skeletal limbs to open view as well as to deadly infections, causing abscesses and gangrene, in other words, necrosis.

One can imagine the short life span of between 1 to 3 years for a Krok addict cannot be very pleasant with body parts giving in to increasing putrefaction and resulting in amputations.

As dramatized in Breaking Bad, Meth chemists rely on commonly available drugs that contain pseudoephedrine to cook up methamphetamine employing a highly risky and dangerous process for conversion. Desomorphine’s starter drug is Codeine, a morphine cousin also derived from opium, and in Russia, available at almost all pharmacies in the form of headache pills. After that the cookers only need iodine, red phosphorus, gasoline, paint thinner or alcohol, or industrial cleaning oil and the cooking can start. Given the ingredient list of highly corrosive and toxic products it is not surprising why skin and muscle tissue would die off soon enough.

Why do they do it? One explanation could be that Krok heads are economists at heart. In Russia, shooting heroin, even the cheapest dirtiest form, could cost between $40 to $120 per dose. In contrast a Codeine tablet pack costs only about $4.

Krokodil takes about half an hour to cook but is faster acting than heroin, is 12 times more potent, and yet its effect wears out much sooner, usually in about 90 minutes. Then the cooks head back into the kitchen.

The Independent. "Krokodil: The flesh-eating drug that eats junkies - Europe - World." Accessed October 3, 2013.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Desomorphine." Accessed October 3, 2013.

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