Topic Tuesday #71 2013/11/26 - "I Want A New Drug"Huey Lewis And The News proclaimed during the cocaine riddled 80's about "...wanting a drug, one that won't make me sick." Huey would never have dreamed that the quest for an ever cheaper and deeper high to escape reality could lead to a drug that not only killed you, but dissolved you from the inside out. Desomorphine (dihydrodesoxymorphine), or more commonly known as "Krokodil" is a heroin addicts worst nightmare. Basically, it is a freebased opiate consisting of various components, boiled down and then injected into your blood stream. If you miss the vessel, and the compound lands in your muscle tissue, it will begin to dissolve it while turning the outer flesh green and scaly, like a crocodile.
If you are familiar with meth (methamphetamine and crystal) or Breaking Bad, you know that some chemicals can be cooked up in batches with some very basic chemistry/culinary skills. Back in Russia, as early as 2002, krokodil was on the scene filling gaps where heroin was unavailable. Instead of getting heroin, unsuspecting junkies were being fed a toxic cocktail (one recipe: codeine pain pills, gasoline, paint thinner, bathroom cleaner and red phosphorous from match heads) directly to their bodies.
Chemically the cook uses a base-alkaline reaction to create a yellowish liquid that is up to ten times stronger, but only a quarter the effective duration as morphine. It's also much more addictive. The human brain loves the stuff, and it loves to eat the brain too. Many of the street made versions eat human flesh that can eventually just make limbs fall off. Most users don't seem to mind, since they have had so many brain cells popped that they end up in a strange fugue state of retardation due to brain damage. Speech and motor control are frequent casualties from home brew batches. Other than Krokodil, being such a lovely and descriptive name, the compound is sometimes aptly referred to as "zombie in a syringe".
It was only a matter of time before this insanely dangerous poppy derivative landed abroad. Cases of it's use, and the after math, are popping up all over. Some police forces have taken such a controversial stand on it as to warn of getting your heroin from a trusted source and to have no questions asked drop off programs. They great police, the ones that really care about human life and suffering, want the bad stuff gone, so the real issue of addiction remediation can continue, without the need to crutches or homes for the mentally damaged. The average life expectancy of an addict of krokodil is said to be as low as 2 years with high susceptibility to infections and gangrene.
Please, if you are hooked, seek help. For your own sake, make sure you get what you ordered while you are wrestling with your demons.
(For gruesome images of the health effects of krokodil, go here.)