These photos will turn your stomach. Krokodil is a street version of desomorphine, an opiate that’s 3 times more powerful and 10 times cheaper than heroin, and has become an epidemic in Russia. It’s so named because regular users develop gangrenous, scaly skin resembling that of a crocodile. Krokodil is made with such toxic chemicals that it rots the flesh and bones of its users. WARNING: Extremely graphic images.
It’s easy to focus on the sensational aspects of the emerging krokodil “flesh-rotting drug” story, but that ignores the most troubling issues around its origins, its popularity and its continued use. Krokodil is the street term for a home-made injectable opioid called desomorphine, a drug with effects similar to, but not as long lasting, as heroin. Desomorphine was first patented in the U.S. in 1932, but the homemade version has risen in popularity in Russia in recent years. Desperation often breeds tragedy and disaster, and Russia’s shoddy methods of treating their sick and addicted created the desperation that led to the disastrous popularity of krokodil.