Russia’s Secret Addiction- Krokodil (Desomorphine)

What is krokodil?
Desomorphine, also known as krokodil this is the local name used by many in Russia. Krokodil is an opioid derivative of codeine. This drug has sedative and analgesic effect just like other opioids and heroin. This drug is highly addictive and very harmful to the users. Krokodil is recognized to contain desomorphine but it is illegal and home-based manufacturing so it contains other harmful and unknown ingredients too, in fact, no desomorphine at all.


The homemade manufacturing version of krokodil starts with codeine and it is cooked similar to the illegal methamphetamine production. The organic solvents used in manufacturing krokodil are gasoline, lighter fluid or paint thinner, red phosphorus, and hydrochloric acid. These ingredients are very dangerous and they are not fully cooked always when the manufacturers make the illegal krokodil.
The people who start using or injecting these agents into their veins they start experiencing extreme skin ulceration, gangrene, infections, scale-like skin that resembles the crocodile skin, hence the local or street name of this drug is called as krokodil. This drug is also called as “Russian Magic” this refers it’s short duration of opioid intoxication.
What are the other effects of krokodil?
According to the research, the drug has the fastest acting and ten times more power than morphine. However, the effect time of drug is very short and euphoric effect may last only less than two hours. Due to the short period and high effect the users find themselves in the fastest repetition of the drug synthesis to skip the withdrawal symptoms of the drug that are typical to heroin. When the toxic chemicals are removed from krokodil this is very similar to heroin.
The analgesic (painkiller) effect of desomorphine is ten times greater than morphine and it is more toxic. Due to the short duration of action and frequent administration user may experience quick physical dependence.
What is the level of krokodil use?
The krokodil is one of the popular drug synthesized in Russia for over decades. Millions of people use this drug in Russia. The various names of krokodil are CHeornaya in Russia and Himiya in Ukraine. According to the head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, the amount of krokodil seized in Russia increased 23-fold between 2009 and 2011. Krokodil has also been reported in other countries including the Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Germany, and Norway.
What are the health hazards of krokodil?
Reported health hazards due to krokodil injection use:
• Blood vessel damage
• Open ulcers, gangrene, phlebitis
• Skin and soft tissue infections
• Skin grafts/surgery
• Limb amputations
• Pneumonia
• Blood poisoning
• Meningitis
• Rotting gums/tooth loss
• Blood-borne virus transmission (HIV/HCV due to needle sharing)
• Bone infections (osteomyelitis)
• Speech and motor skills impairment
• Memory loss and impaired concentration
• Liver and kidney damage
• Overdose
• Death