Krokodil (Crocodile) is the latest drug that can be made at home, and it first appeared in Russia. It is an opiate for the poor, and its effects are frightening. It is named “Krokodil” because its poisonous substances are quickly changing the look of the skin of the addicts, which is becoming greenish and scaly, like reptiles’ skin.
Four years ago, Russian heroin addicts first discovered how to make a "Krokodil". Since then, the number of addicts is in rise, and it reached a peak in recent months. Every year, about 30.000 addicts die in Russia, which is one third of addicts’ deaths worldwide. It is estimated that about five percent of drug addicts in Russia use “Krokodil”, and about 100.000 more of them are using some other type of home-made opiate.
When someone goes to rehabilitation from heroin, symptoms last from five to ten days, after which there is great danger of their return.
With “Krokodil”, this is more complicated. Pains are lasting up to one month, and they are unbearable. To endure pain, rehabilitators have to be injected with extremely strong tranquilizers.
You can recognize “Krokodil” users by their specific smell of iodine, which is infiltrated into their clothes and can not be removed with washing. Each apartment in which the “Krokodil” was boiled can be forgotten as a place to live because the smell can never be eliminated.
Addicts have no problem buying codeine tablets that are sold without a prescription, and pharmacists do not refuse to sell them even though they know why exactly they are bought. The solution is obvious: ban the sale of codeine. But although the authorities are aware of the problem that lasts more than a year, they almost do nothing to resolve it.
Zhenya, former addict
“The effect of “krokodil” lasts from 90 minutes to two hours”, says Zhenya, a former addict.
“You don't sleep much when you're on krokodil, as you need to wake up every couple of hours for another hit. The cooking process takes at least half an hour, so being a krokodil addict is basically a full-time job. At the time we were cooking it at our place, and loads of people came round and pitched in. For three days we just kept on making it. By the end, we all staggered out yellow, exhausted and stinking of iodine.” –says Zhenya.