Drug addiction in the United States is a serious issue. The effects from drug use and abuse are felt on every level of society and in every community. Addiction does not discriminate; it affects people of every race, color, creed, religion, or socioeconomic background. Drugs are becoming more and more advanced. Home-made drugs are being created to flood the illegal drug market with even more dangerous than the drugs already on the market. Synthetic drug abuse has quickly risen in popularity in America. In a poll taken in 2011 it is reported that one out of every nine high school students had tried synthetic marijuana. Through various campaigns and other research students have been less likely to use or abuse alcohol and cigarettes, but are more likely to use synthetic drugs. The information regarding synthetic drugs has yet to be made a popular topic. For many, by the time they realize the danger of these drugs it is too late because they can be very addictive. The high rate of young adults choosing to experiment with synthetic marijuana should be a warning sign for the world of opiate abuse and addiction.


Krokodil is a very dangerous drug, which has not become prevalent in the United States.  Yet, recently there have been more reported cases in the country causing that are causing a stir in media outlets. This might seem like an over-reaction or a fear-mongering media network, but after reviewing the effects it has had in other countries (Russia) the warnings are warranted. Krokodil is the street name for desomorphine that was developed in Russia as a homemade substitute to heroine. This homemade substitute for heroin is much cheaper. Krokodil sets in faster than heroine at a tenth of the cost, frequently cooked at home with codeine, paint thinner, and match heads.  Like other synthetics it is very easy to access, which makes it popular. One of its major dangers is that its cooking process does not remove any of its impurities. Thus, the user injects all of the harmful toxins resulting in dangerous disease.  Scaly, green patches, gangrene, hemorrhaging of the arteries, and necrosis of tissue that can get so bad the rotting flesh can erode to the point that bare bone is visible. The dark green, scale-like infections from injection look like crocodile scales, which is where the drug gets its name. The drug high lasts roughly two hours. The effects of the drug coupled with the withdrawal symptoms require sedation and an extended stay in a hospital. Krokodil is so dangerous that users have a life expectancy of roughly two years.

Krokodil is a synthetic opioid made from codeine. The drug has both sedative and analgesic effects. The drug is highly addictive and is presumed to contain desomorphine. This drug is illegally cooked in home settings using gasoline, paint thinner, lighter fluid, iodine, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorus, and codeine. According to reports, the drug is fast acting and noted to be as much as eight to ten times more potent than morphine. Due to the intense and short high most users must re-consume the drug to avoid the withdrawal symptoms that are similar to heroin. Quick physical dependence is possible because the analgesic effects are roughly ten times more powerful than morphine and three times more toxic.

Where It Comes From

Krokodil has been synthesized and used in Russia for over a decade. Approximately a million Russians use Krokodil. The amount of the drug seized by Russian authorities has increased two-three fold between 2009 and 2011. The drug has also been found in Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Germany and Norway. Prior to the onset of this new synthetic drug, heroin came from the Middle East (Afghanistan). Specialists believe that a new market for opioid-type drugs opened as a result of a opium crop disease that spread through the poppy fields.

In the United States codeine is a controlled substance. The drug is available with a prescription from a licensed physician or can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy. The drug was not seen in the United States until 2013, when a poison control center in Phoenix, Arizona received questions regarding the drug. There are no official reports of the drug in America as of now, but some users could unknowingly be purchasing the drug thinking they are buying heroin.

Signs and Symptoms of Krokodil Addiction

Like any other addiction the behavioral and emotional symptoms of addiction are the same. Individuals who become addicted to drugs slowly change. They have unnecessary and abnormal mood swings. They often lose interest in normal everyday activities. It will become harder and harder for the individual to complete normal responsibilities. They will become less reliable. Addicts also have financial, social, and legal troubles because of their addictions. Signs and symptoms more unique to Krokodil addiction include:

-Skin Ulcerations/infections
-Serious vein damage
-Soft Tissue Infections
-Organ or Central nervous system damage
-Blood vessel damage
-Open ulcers
-Skin grafts/surgery
-Blood poisoning
-Rotting gums/tooth loss
-Blood-borne virus transmission
-Bone infections
-Speech and motor skills impairment
-Memory loss and impaired concentration
-Liver and kidney damage

Synthetic Drug Legality

Young adults use synthetic drugs because they believe they are safe. They think this drug is safe because it is sold legally in American stores and on the internet. Synthetic drugs are currently illegal in 42 states and the government is working to make it completely illegal in the United States. Government agencies continue to make certain substances within the drugs illegal, but the drug companies have a way around that ban. These companies continue to change the chemical make-up of the drugs to circumvent the law. These drugs are also produced in countries that do not have the same types of codes of conduct and users are never sure what they are ingesting. Ordering these drugs online is very dangerous because other nations do not have the same rigorous regulations on food and drug production as the United States.

Getting Help For Addiction

Krokodil is a very scary drug. It is incredibly dangerous and can lead to serious consequences. If you or someone you know is abusing this drug it is probable they are addicted to it. Krokodil is powerful and habit forming. Getting treatment is of the utmost importance. Those suffering from Krokodil addiction should seek professional, inpatient long-term care. The severe withdrawal side effects will require medical attention. Calling an addiction helpline can help get the proper help.