Krocodil: The New Street Drug That Rots Flesh To The Bone

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Top Tier Gear USA


Desomorphine was first synthesized in the United States in 1932. Scientists were trying to find a drug with the pain killing properties of morphine, but that caused less nausea and less addiction in patients that needed to use it in the long term for pain relief.

The drug they came up with was 8-10 times more potent than morphine which would have meant far less was needed to control severe pain, but it proved to be far more addictive than the morphine in use so the research was discontinued.

How genuine scientific research has ended up with people synthesizing desomorphine in their kitchens from ingredients such as red phosphorous ( used to make match heads) and codeine is as yet unknown. Gasoline, paint thinners and painkillers have been reported by Russian users as additions to the toxic brew. The resulting substance has  the street name Krokodil, thought to be because the skin of users resembles crocodile skin before it breaks down and turns to mush. Unfortunately, the mixing of the ingredients produces several extremely toxic by products which can cause the skin to breakdown, often from the inside out.

According to International Business Times:

The drug gets its name due to its effects on the user’s skin as it soon turns scaly and continues to harden and turn gray before rotting away, a process known as necrosis. Of the two users profiled by the Independent, Oleg and Sasha, the former had rotting sores as a result of his Krokodil use. Krokodil use was first reported in Siberia in 2002 and later spread to other parts of Russia, Time reported. The drug soon exploded in popularity and gained international coverage in 2011. Reports from Vice, graphic videos posted on YouTube and photos depicting the effects of Krokodil led to international attention, but there had been no reported cases of the drug’s use in America prior to the two cases in Arizona.

Shelly Mowry, a substance abuse expert speaking to KNXV-TV, said:

“In the 12 years that I’ve been doing substance abuse and prevention education, it’s probably the most destructive drug I’ve ever seen.”

The average life expectancy of a Krokodil user is between two and three years according to Russian doctors who have worked with addicts.

The damage caused by Krocodil is extreme. You can see pictures by clicking below. They follow the article.


This cheap heroin substitute is the latest export from Russia, and it has now arrived in the United States. One of the problems of trying to track Krocodil use before it gets to the tissue destroying stage is that it metabolises quickly and leaves little trace evidence for tests to find. This makes it difficult for help and support to be offered to new users as there is no proof they are actually taking the drug.

On first examination the damage to the skin and underlying tissue resembles that of necrotizing fasciitis, and it’s feasible that the organisms that cause the breakdown of the tissue in necrotizing fasciitis are present in Krokodil users .

These organisms include Streptococcus aureusKlebsiellaClostridium, E. coli and Aeromonas hydrophila.

The worry is that as Krocodil is cheap and easy to produce that it will end up being pushed in clubs and on street corners without the users knowing what they are taking and how addictive it is. By the time these kids realise what they are putting into their bodies damage will have already started to occur and lifelong disfigurement is most likely going to be the end result.

The Russians are currently very tight lipped about the death rate from the drug so no figures have yet been allocated to it’s usage.

Krocodil has to be one of the worst drugs ever produced, but the pushers won’t care about that, as long as they make their money they will continue to trade regardless of the human cost.

I rarely ask for one of my articles to be passed around, but today I am doing so. EVERY youngster needs to understand what this drug does. 

Search the internet, read up and print the pictures. This is one we have to stop dead in it’s tracks. It needs publicizing, the kids need to know what this concoction can do to them.

Take care


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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.

Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.

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