The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
the best boston and national bands, best music poll, boston phoenix

The Curious Case of Junk That Eats Junkies: Flesh-rotting drug “krokodil” grips Russia

George Romero himself couldn't make this shit up. But after reading about the horrors of the newly popular Russian street drug known as krokodil (see: the Independent's June 22 article "Krokodil: The Drug That Eats Junkies"), one has to wonder when this nightmare smack will find its way into the plot of a zombie flick. Imagine the following scene, if you will.

Dmitry the Junkie cooks up a fix. His dealer is a sneaky fellow who always seems to have the good stuff. "Try the ‘crocodile,' " he says. Dmitry never cared what his horse was called, so long as he could ride it. The menacing opening lick of "Gimme Shelter" slowly fills the dingy basement room as the spoon comes to a boil. He loads it, shoots it, and moments later, euphoria streams through his veins. But the poison is in his blood now -- it's only a matter of time before his arm starts to blacken and rot, as the gangrene sets in. It doesn't matter; as long as he can get another hit ...   

Sounds like a craptastic scare tactic from some DARE class, right? "Sure, pal, a drug that eats your flesh." But we assure you, readers, this is very real.

Krokodil (or "crocodile") is desomorphine, a synthetic opiate first brewed up here in the US of A. in 1932, and a scourge that's currently ravaging Russia. Essentially, desomorphine is a sedative and analgesic that acts much faster than morphine. But this stuff is nasty: "to produce krokodil ... addicts mix it with ingredients including gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous, which they scrape from the striking pads on matchboxes," Time tells us. The poisons cause the flesh to turn scaly -- hence, "crocodile" -- and should a user miss the vein, they are marked with swells, blisters and boils. The Independent reports: "Photographs of late-stage krokodil addicts are disturbing in the extreme. Flesh goes grey and peels away to leave bones exposed. People literally rot to death." The life expectancy of a full-blown, hardcore krokodil addict is one year.

Why would ANYONE get into this stuff, you may ask yourself. In Russia, krokodil is cheaper, stronger, and easier to get ahold of than regular heroin -- thanks to a major drug-enforcement crackdown, and the fact that the base ingredients of krokodil (like codeine) are readily available in pharmacies.

Russia's heroin problems are staggering: according to unofficial sources, there are some two million users -- more than any other country -- and the drug causes some 30,000 deaths per year. The major source of smack in Russia comes from its neighbor, the heroin heavyweight champion, Afghanistan. But as efforts from law enforcement seek to stifle the flow of heroin in the country, users have sought out cheaper and more readily available alternatives -- and so the krokodil epidemic was born.

And though the drug is more potent, the high is fleeting -- it only lasts for around 90 minutes. The Independent notes: "Given that the "cooking" process takes at least half an hour, being a krokodil addict is basically a full-time job."

While this terrifying drug has not yet made its presence market here in the US, it's hard to ignore the dangers of a substance you can make in your bathtub that has the potential to create real-life zombies -- not flesh-hungry brain eaters, but lifeless, decomposing empty vessels possessed by a singular desire. For now, we can be thankful that the only zombie potion currently being brewed in the States is our beloved crystal meth.


Filed Under: , , , ,
| More


Leave a Comment

Login | Not a member yet? Click here to Join

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 

Follow us on Twitter for daily updates and links to general coolness

All Blogs
Related Articles

Boston Phoenix
The Curious Case of Junk That Eats Junkies: Flesh-rotting drug “krokodil” grips Russia
Published 6/29/2011 by Nate Homan
George Romero himself couldn't make this shit up. But after reading about the horrors of the newly popular Russian street drug known as krokodil (see:...

Boston Phoenix
Aziz Ansari gets ready for his close-up
Published 6/17/2011 by JESSE PAPINEAU
Dangerous fun

more by Nate Homan
The Curious Case of Junk That Eats Junkies: Flesh-rotting drug “krokodil” grips Russia | June 29, 2011
Greatest Hits: Whitey Bulger found ... in the Boston Phoenix archives | June 23, 2011
[Flashback] “Flush with the Walls” MFA art stunt turns 40 | June 23, 2011
[video] Shippin’ The Cup To Boston | June 16, 2011
The Illustrated Animal Collective: Hipster Animals spotted in the Phoenix!  | June 15, 2011

 See all articles by: Nate Homan

Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Ask Me Anything Friday 7/1 - Do you have any insight on redistricting? Lynch-Keating? Tierney-Tsongas? Olver? Will someone run for...

By Drew on 07-01-2011 in Talking Politics

Ask Me Anything Friday 7/1 - Do Will Dorcena or Sean Ryan have a snowball's chance in hell at getting elected? Would could change...

By John Boston on 07-01-2011 in Talking Politics

Meet the Mayor: Boston Public Library - Usability. Navigating our Boston Public Library Copley Square buildings, floors, departments, collections...

By thezak on 07-01-2011 in Phlog

Ask Me Anything Friday 7/1 - Is there any historical precedent for the four at-large councilors effectively endorsing each other?...

By Johnny on 07-01-2011 in Talking Politics

Q&A #2: Dem Senate Hopefuls - Warren won't run: she's a federal employee now, which means that she can't run in a partisan...

By Johnny on 07-01-2011 in Talking Politics

Latest Comments from Laser Orgy
Most Viewed
Richard Russo chosen for One City, One Story
MP3 of the Week: The Macrotones "Flutenbier"
[on a boat] Mellow Bravo + Viva Viva + Organ Beats on a Friday night booze cruise
[Q&A] King Buzzo of Melvins rants about the end of the music biz, the radness of writing endless awesome riffs and how dead Kurt Cobain still is
[tonight] Love Inks @ O'Brien's Pub :: UPDATE: show canceled
[live review] Movement Electronic Music Festival 2011
Tickets on-sale alert: The National, Lil Wayne, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Handsome Furs + more
Most Viewed from Laser Orgy
Search Blogs
Saturday, July 02, 2011  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group
Copyright © 2011 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group