For years, drugs have plagued the American society, destroying the lives of millions, and tearing families apart. Addicts never intend to become hooked on drugs; most say they were just going to try a drug once and usually at a party or friend’s house.
Kay Bretton, a licensed Mental Health Counselor & Certified Addictions Professional, told Ocala Post the feeling a person experiences from that first high can never be achieved again, which causes a person to use more of the drug or switch to a more potent drug. Eventually, chasing that high becomes all the person can think about and nothing else in their life matters at that point.
When society thinks about the side effects of drug addiction it is usually the health aspect of drug use. A secondary spin-off of drug addiction is job loss, leaving an addict without the economic means to purchase drugs. Without the finances to obtain drugs, addicts are using the most affordable methods possible to achieve that next high: hazardous chemicals, household cleaners, and solvents.
Experts say the more creative an addict who manufactures designer drugs — such as methamphetamine — becomes, the more dangerous the drug will be.
Methamphetamine is currently America’s curse, however, a newer drug in Russia makes crystal methamphetamine look like vitamin C, and it has authorities in America on edge.
The Russian drug is known in America as Crocodile, or in Russia Krokodil. It earned its name from the way it makes a person’s skin look green, scaly, and bumpy. It originated in Siberia as a homemade substitute for the pain killer desomorphine, which is about ten times more potent than morphine.
Krokodil is said to be 100 times more addicting than methamphetamine and heroin combined.
The drug made its way into Russia in 2002 and quickly gained popularity among the poor as a much cheaper alternative to heroin.
According to Russian officials, over 30,000 people per year die in Russia due to heroin addiction, making up for a third of drug related deaths globally. However, heroin addicts are now turning to Krokodil; creating an entirely new epidemic in Russia. There are an estimated one million users of Krokodil in Russia.
According to drug agents, the Russian government refuses to make the drug or the ingredients to manufacture the drug illegal.
In Russia, all of the ingredients used to make Krokodil including codeine can be purchased over the counter from a single trip to the store. And with a cook time of only 30 minutes, it’s like any other trip to the grocery store.
Dr. Ayrn O’Connor, a medical toxicologist in Arizona, says users of Krokodil only have a one to two year life expectancy from the time a person starts using the drug. It is the volatile chemicals and other ingredients used to make the drug that diminishes a person’s life expectancy so rapidly.
A list of some of the dangerous ingredients include:
- Paint Thinner
- Hydrochloric Acid
- Red Phosphorous
Recently there were two confirmed cases of Krokodil use in Arizona, and that has drug and health officials worried. DEA agents say this drug would be devastating to the United States and are warning the public to stay away from this drug.
Health officials said that in the beginning stages of the “rotting process,” doctors unfamiliar with Krokodil – at first glance – might assume a person has not been controlling their diabetes because of similar characteristics. A common place for the rotting to take place is the feet, because addicts often shoot up in-between their toes. Addicts have also been know to inject the drug into their tongue or gums.
“While methamphetamine and heroin are guaranteed to give you a slow and painful death, if you want to speed up the process, take this drug,” DEA Supervisory Agent Sue Thomas said. Adding, “It will rot you from the inside out; leaving you with gaping wounds that will leave bones exposed and horrible abscesses…it’s a horrific death.”
Thomas said, “Even though it kills quickly and causes horrible pain and illness, hard-core addicts may still turn to Krokodil.”
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Heroin withdrawals can last anywhere from five to ten days, often described as the worst flu you’ll ever have in your life. However, Krokodil withdrawals can last up to a month and addicts have to be injected with extremely strong tranquilizers, otherwise an addict would pass out from the pain or stroke out.
Authorities say very few people have survived an addiction to Krokodil, but if an addict does survive, they are left with permanent damage such as a speech impediment, erratic movements, or complete loss of motor skills. On many occasions, authorities have described the Krokodil epidemic as a real life Zombie Apocalypse because Krokodil causes a person’s skin to literally rot off the bone, and the brain to shut down leaving the addict with an empty gaze on his or her face.
The DEA is hopeful that by warning Americans about the dangers of using Krokodil, they will have common sense and help keep a flesh-eating epidemic from spreading through the United States.