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Flesh Eating Krokodil Drug Resurfaces on American East Coast

Flesh Eating Krokodil Drug Resurfaces on American East Coast

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Back in September of 2013 doctors in Arizona were understandably alarmed after two potentially related cases of a now infamous flesh eating Krokodil drug appeared in the state, one of the first ever reports of the drug in America. That year doctors in Illinois also reported treating individuals suffering serious damage due to use of the corrosive recreational narcotic. Since then the drug has seemingly been absent from the front lines of the opioid epidemic in America. However, after a few recent reports, some are worried it might make a surprising comeback. This time, it appears Krokodil has resurfaced on the East Coast.

What is Krokodil?

The main ingredient in Krokodil is the drug desomorphine. It is a derivative of morphine that is 8 to 10 times more potent. Desomorphine was first patented in the United States in 1932.

The drug got its now notorious nickname from the Russian word for crocodile; due to the fact users often develop scale-like, green skin. Other permanent effects of the drug include:

  • Speech impediments
  • Erratic movement

Krokodil can be manufactured illicitly from products such as:

  • Codeine
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Turpentine
  • Red phosphorus
  • Gasoline

However, artificially producing desomorphine like this causes the drug to be dangerously impure. It contains toxic and corrosive byproducts from the home-made chemical combination. The rotting effect these chemicals have on the flesh is why many people call it the ‘zombie drug’.

Krokodil in Europe

As a recreational and injectable drug, ill-reputed and home-made Krokodil was first reported in the middle and eastern areas of Siberia way back in 2002. According to medical reports, it then quickly spread across Russia and other Soviet republics with a distressing impact on those it came into contact with. The drug became so popular because compared to the more mainstream opioids like heroin the high is much stronger and it was extremely cheap to produce. The drug is also highly addictive.

This drug has devastating effects on its users, who have an average life span of only 2 to 3 years after they start using. The chemicals within Krokodil literally rot and eat people away from the inside.

Krokodil Coming to America

In 2013 the leg of a young woman in Lockport Illinois named Amber Neitzel, 26 at the time, was photographed because of the intense damage Krokodil had done to her tissue. Most of the previous reports of Krokodil in the U.S. appeared mostly in the Southwest. Now one story has some worried it’s back and getting around.

An overdose patient found all but rotting alive in Manchester, New Hampshire last week told responders he believed he’d been injecting the drug Krokodil. In relation to the story, reporters spoke with Chris Hickey with American Medical Response, who said,

“It’s pretty much the dirty sister of morphine and heroin,’ Hickey said. ‘A lot of times, it’s cut with something like gasoline or the ground-up red phosphorus from the tips of matches or drain cleaner.”

With someone who is literally rotting away in front of you it turns the stomach of even the most seasoned provider.”

The opioid epidemic is already affecting the vast majority of Americans in one way or another, whether they are struggling or someone they know, and most experts predict we still haven’t reached the pinnacle of the problem.

Already there are awfully hazardous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil being slipped into the illegal drug trade through heroin and home-pressed prescription pill form. These two substances alone have supplied most states with a surge of opioid overdoses and deaths.

If Krokodil is really making a comeback, how much worse could the opioid epidemic get and how quickly will law enforcement, public health officials and communities be ready to respond? Will this be the deciding factor in pushing the overdose death rates to new and demoralizing peaks?

Drugs like these are far too real and costing far too many people their lives. There is another way, but it begins with taking action. Seeking safe and effective treatment can be a crucial step to changing your life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

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Crazy Drug Trends: Facts vs. Fiction

Crazy Drug Trends: Facts vs. Fiction


Addicts and alcoholics are often referred to as some of the most creative and talented individuals on earth. We even develop skills in active addiction subconsciously that exceed those of ‘normies’ to adapt to our life-styles. Not always do we use these powers for good. Lately there have been some seriously stupid ideas for getting high in the news. Now it has been shown some of these were purely speculations and never proven, and a few were exaggerated in the media as part of a spree of ‘crazy drug trend’ stories. The question is, how many of these stories actually have sparked some curiosity and become fact? For now we will simply label them as they have been proven. Brace yourselves, it’s about to get weird.

  1. Jenkem- FICTION

Based on an internet hoax, the media started reporting that American teenagers were doing a new drug called “jenkem:” fermented human sewage, scraped from pipes and stored in plastic bags for a week or so, until it gives off numbing, intoxicating fumes, according to author Emma Guest. The idea supposedly originated in Zambia and reported on in many books about Africa and in articles by the BBC in the early ’90s. Jenkem resurfaced in 2007 when someone on a message board claimed to be making and selling it in Florida. So Florida all locals, this one may not be fact…. YET.

  1. iDose- FICTION

It sounds like something strait out of a comic book, but it was supposedly real. In 2010, tech blogs started reporting on kids getting high using mp3s that induce feelings of ecstasy. It’s said to use 2-tone technology through headphones to create the high, and was dubbed “iDose” by the News channel 9 in Oklahoma City, OK. There is some scientific truth to the effects of mood and relaxation, but claims that using certain frequencies to get a ‘high’ are quite false. The story is kids were apparently logging into certain sites and getting hooked up with free “doses” of audio files with names like “Gates of Hades.” Not sure about the withdrawals, but if you need to detox I think there’s an app for that.

  1. Vodka Tampons- FACT

This particular viral news story focusing on alleged teenage girls soaking in tampons in vodka to get drunk. Now if I know anything about teenage girls, it’s this- they’re terrifying- but I’m not sure this one is legit. But supposedly, this not-so-tasteful trend has documented cases as proof. Teens think it’ll get the alcohol to their blood stream faster without having to go through the barrier of stomach acid, and without alcohol on their breath so parents won’t find out, all this reminds us of the next trend (#4).

  1. Eyeballing- FACT

Afraid to be caught with the smell of alcohol on their breath, many kids have taken up the vodka eyeballing trend. Instead of throwing back a shot, teens hold the bottle to their eye and pour the liquid directly into the eye, which is laden with blood vessels.  Because most vodkas are between 40 and 50 percent alcohol, it can scar and burn the cornea, and even cause blindness.

  1. Nutmeg- FACT

I know you got some! It’s probably stashed in your kitchen right now. High doses of nutmeg can actually cause vivid hallucinations, bringing many people wanting a legal alternative to the more infamous hallucinogens. Some are just hard out for money, but if your throw back massive doses of a kitchen spice you are in for it. These trips are typically described as unpleasant and closely resemble psychotic detachment from reality. Accompanying the high is severe anxiety, and a sense of impending doom.
The physical effects are also pretty harsh with rapid heart rate and palpitations, dry mouth, nausea and urinary retention all being reported. So stay out of the pantry for a few days.

  1. Smoking Bed Bugs- FICTION

This is one random and disgustingly stupid trend that came out of nowhere and had the media all over the place- but ended up being an elaborate hoax. Catching and smoking bed bugs is not the average users ideal afternoon, but with all the madness of active addiction how can you tell what is too crazy? The sad part about this is, after all the hype it got, it probably did have a few people giving it a shot. Those people definitely need some treatment, or maybe just adult supervision.


“AWOL” is an acronym for “alcohol without liquid”. It’s the brand name for a device popularized back in 2004 for getting you drunk without the drinking part. Now banned in many countries around the world and in many states in America, an AWOL nebulizer makes it so you are literally smoking the ethanol gases in booze and excluding all the non-alcoholic ingredients. Other than the quicker rate of alcohol poisoning, this method of getting high prevents your body from vomiting, which is the quickest way to get rid of the alcohol that’s making you ill.

  1. Bananadine- FICTION

This is a throw-back. It was a fictional substance which supposedly could be extracted from banana peels and smoked to get high. The hoax recipe for its “extraction” from banana peel was originally published back in March 1967. It became more widely known when William Powel who believed was true, reproduced the method in 1970 in The Anarchist Cookbook under the name “Musa sapientum Bananadine”. Researchers at New York University have found that banana peel contains no intoxicating chemicals.

  1. Krokodil- FACT

In Russia heroin addicts who can’t afford the real thing have invented an easier and much more stupid method to get high. The chemical reactions with over the counter painkillers and other easily available chemicals can create a drug called desomorphine that has similar effects to heroin. It makes a brown gunk called Krokodil- named for its tendency to turn the skin of users scaly and reptilian as the toxic by-products eat away at the flesh. This is definitely not the ideal relapse drug. How many times will a random drug show signs of the zombie apocalypse?

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013

The year 2013 was a pretty crazy year when it came to new drugs and news stories about drugs. So with the year coming to an end, I figured it would be cool to take a look back on all the drugs that made headlines in 2013, so here they are.

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013: Benzo Fury

After being subject to a provisional ban since June, Benzofuran – or Benzo Fury, as it’s more frequently known – and NBOMe are to be made class B and A drugs, respectively. Numerous users of the new drug Benzo Fury were spoken with to see what the effects of this drug are and what the high is like. The ones spoke to who used the drug in capsule form said it was like an ecstasy or MDMA type of a high, while others who used the drug in different forms described the high from Benzo Fury as a hallucinogenic and acid-like high.

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013: Zohydro

Zohydro, Made by the company Zogenix, is the first pure hydrocodone prescription drug to ever be permitted by the FDA and the worries for misuse cannot be overlooked: Zohydro can be injected, snorted, or chewed by people wanting to abuse the drug such as opiate addicts in order to provide a powerful dose of hydrocodone and to get a “high” that’s similar heroin. Its super confusing that this new drug is out now when the FDA had recently said they were trying to get tighter control on hydrocodone.

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013: Krokodil

Krokodil (desomorphine) is a imitative of morphine that is 8 to 10 times more powerful. It can be factory-made illicitly from codeine and other simply attained products, like red phosphorus and gasoline. But, desomorphine manufactured this way is highly contaminated and contains toxic and destructive byproducts. Side effects of this drug (and where it received its street name from) are that your flesh literally starts to turn scale-like and green. You end up having severe tissue mutilation and decay, sometimes needing limb amputation. There is so much tissue damage related with the use of this drug that addicts are expected to have a life probability of 1-2 years.

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013: Flesh Eating Cocaine

Flesh eating cocaine was found in New York and Los Angeles when people went into the hospitals in these cities and reported it. Levamisole was initially used as an anthelminthic, a specific drug that stuns or kills worms, to treat worm infestations in both humans and animals. Levamisole has progressively been used as a cutting agent in cocaine sold in both the U.S. and Canada; as if rotting skin wasn’t sufficient to turn you off of cocaine, for fright of it being part of the batch of flesh eating cocaine, Levamisole also stops the bone marrow from creating white blood cells, which are essential in fighting off infection.

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013: Marijuana being Legalized & Alcohol being smoked

It was also brought into the headlines this year that Florida is trying to get marijuana legalized. Backing is overpowering between every group surveyed, fluctuating from 70 – 26 percent among Republicans to 90 – 10 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old. It was also a big issue that alcohol is now not just being drank, but inhaled, too. Someone can pour alcohol over dry ice and inhale it directly or with a straw, or make a DIY vaporizing kit using bike pumps. Whatever alcohol you choose is transferred into a bottle, the bottle is corked, and the bicycle pump needle is stabbed through the top of the cork. Air is pushed into the bottle to vaporize the alcohol, and the individual inhales it.

Drugs That Made Headlines in 2013: Narcan, Modafinil & Deadly Spice

Narcan has been a very recent new drug that is being carried by New Jersey Police officers. This drug is an antidote for heroin or opiate overdose and is being carried on the police due to the epidemic of heroin use all over right now. Modafinil has been compared to the ‘limitless drug’ from the movie starring Bradley Cooper. It is marketed in the US as Provigil. Modafinil was originally approved by the FDA in 1998 for narcolepsy treatment, but since then it’s become better known as a nootropic, a “smart drug,” especially among industrialists. And last but not least, it was in the news that people were being exposed to deadly versions of Spice. Since all of the Spice products are created so differently, you never know if a batch you get is going to be a good high or going to be an absolute nightmare.

All these new drugs make my head spin; what happened to just getting drunk (by drinking alcohol) and doing some good old fashioned drugs? Who knows what is going to be going around in the next few years or so, but let’s hope that 2014 is a year that doesn’t include a bunch of new drugs, too. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.

Opinion: Is Krokodil a real threat or just media hype?

Like with any other hard-to-believe story, the case of the drug Krokodil is being sensationalized in the news. The drug is very real and now that there have been at least a handful of cases, we are seeing more and more coverage about it in the news.

Krokodil is a nasty drug that is said to give you a higher high but at the fraction of the price of heroin. The trade-off, however, is that it literally costs you an arm and a leg: it’s an opiate unlike any other opiate – one that is mixed with a series of dangerous poisons that lead to tissue death in the addict’s body resulting in amputation.

Krokodil, whose medical name is desomorphine, has been called a ‘moonshine drug’ because addicts are often able to cook the narcotic at home. Reports have stated that krokodil can have gasoline, bleach, oil, paint thinner, and who knows what else. This concoction can leave traces of toxins in the final product – which is then injected.

You can’t take this drug without actually poisoning yourself. You are literally poisoning yourself when you use krokodil. It’s very corrosive and toxic. The drug gets its name from the green, scaly sores that users often develop. Horrific photos of the drug’s side effects have circulated on the Internet. Pictures and videos of users in Russia show blackened fingertips, large open wounds, and even exposed bone where skin has fallen off. Prolonged or even short-term use can damage blood vessels, muscle, cartilage, and bone, and amputation is frequently the only way to save a patient’s life.

In September, doctors in Arizona sounded the alarm after two potentially related cases of krokodil abuse were reported in the state. And, over the past few weeks, doctors in Arizona and Illinois have reported treating users of krokodil. One such doctor describes the experience: “the smell of rotten flesh permeates the room. Intensive treatment and skin grafts are required, but they are often not enough to save limbs or lives.” He went on to say, “If you want to kill yourself, this is the way to do it.”

Doctors have warned of the horrifying side effects of the homemade drug, which is said to give a more powerful high than heroin and is much cheaper to produce. The finished product isn’t purified and may contain toxic substances left over from the cooking process, which cause tissue damage to the veins and flesh and can result in gangrene, or body tissue that rots and dies. Some addicts in Russia have developed brain damage and speech impediments in addition to the horrific scars.

Prevalent in Siberia and the Russian Far East, the explosion of users first began in 2002. The numbers of Russians using the drug is thought to have tripled over the past five years. Although krokodil first took hold in Russia, where hundreds of thousands of users were reported in 2010, the drug has apparently arrived in the United States.

And so, even though there have only been a few cases of krokodil use in the US so far, the mere existence of this drug makes it news-worthy. And the fact that this drug is so highly addictive that its use spreads like wildfire, as seen across Germany and Russia, it is a real threat.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or drug addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.





In the News: Flesh-Eating Drug Krokodil Hits the US

Just two weeks ago we wrote about the terrifying drug Krokodil that was growing in popularity in Russia and other European cities. Now there is evidence that the drug has arrived on American soil. The Banner Poison Control center in Arizona has reported the first two users of the drug — which has been available in Russia for more than a decade — here in the U.S.

Krokodil attracted international attention 2010 after illicit manufacture of the drug started increasing in Russia. Pictures of junkies began circulating the web, showing the severe tissue damage and gangrene that can result from the use of the drug, sometimes requiring limb amputation. There is so much tissue damage associated with the use of this drug that addicts are estimated to have a life expectancy of 1-2 years.

Krokodil, or desomorphine, is a derivative of morphine that is 8 to 10 times more potent. It can be manufactured illicitly from codeine and other easily obtained products, like red phosphorus and gasoline. However, desomorphine manufactured this way is highly impure and contains toxic and corrosive byproducts.

It has become popular in Russia, because it is cheap–it can cost 20 times less than heroin-and can be made easily at home.

The drug got its nickname from the Russian world for crocodile, because users tend to develop scale-like, green skin. Other permanent effects of the drug include speech impediments and erratic movement. Rotting flesh, jerky movements, and speech troubles have prompted media outlets to tag krokodil the “zombie drug.”

A spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration told Mother Jones that the agency had not yet confirmed the reported cases in Arizona, but, she added, “This concerns us very much.”

If you or someone you love is seeking help for substance abuse or addiction please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.

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