Russia is still at war with one of the strongest, most addictive and terribly harmful homemade drugs : Krokodil. While the problem is not new, it's definitely reached a peak because of a variety of factors, such as the availability and the cheapness of the main ingredient.
Krokodil (“crocodile”) gets its name from the scaly aspect of the skin on the injected area. It doesn't take long for the skin to turn greenish and scaly – and eventually rot and fall off completely.
Addicts on this drug have a life expectancy between 1 and 3 years maximum. Assuming one of them is gotten to in time and taken to rehab, kicking off the addiction is harder than with any other drug, with withdrawal symptoms lasting up to a month and pain so severe it makes them pass out.
As noted above, the Krokodil problem is not new in Russia, as the video below will also confirm.
The drug became popular as a cheaper variant of heroin – and gained in popularity because Codeine pills are still available without prescription and, of course, are much cheaper than heroin.
Last time Russian authorities took a stand in the fight against this very powerful and damaging drug, they were considering banning the sale of Codeine without a prescription but politics made the initiative come to a halt.
In the meantime, people continue to die.
In a piece dating June 2011, The Independent described the lives of these addicts – and how using Krokodil is a full-time job.
The “high” doesn't last more than 2 hours and withdrawal symptoms kick in almost instantly after the effects of the drug wear off, which basically means they have to keep cooking and injecting it over and over again.
Addicts are immediately recognized by the sores on their body and the prevailing iodine smell that never leaves them: they cook so much Krokodil that the only way to get it out of their clothes is to burn them.
“I remember one day, we cooked for three days straight,” a former Krokodil addict says for The Independent. He's one of the very few lucky ones.
“You don't sleep much when you're on krokodil, as you need to wake up every couple of hours for another hit. 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,” he says.
Images of Krokodil addicts available online are horrific, incredibly shocking. They don't just inject a drug, but pure poison into their veins.