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we're all stars now, in the NOPE show
October 16, 2013 7:35 AM   Subscribe

***WARNING ALL LINKS IN THIS POST POTENTIAL NIGHTMARE FUEL*** Crocodile (Krokodil), the super-powerful Flesh-Eating Russian version of morphine, has been called the World's Most Dangerous drug by such connoisseurs as Vice Magazine. Last week, news broke that it has spread to the United States, and even [gasp] New York City.

Previously, previously
posted by Potomac Avenue (81 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want to know more, but I'm afraid to click.
posted by dogheart at 7:44 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to this week's drug hysteria. There's very little evidence that this is actually being used in the US. Krokodil is a product of the horrific drug prohibition in Russia, where codeine can be bought over the counter and heroin and methadone are much harder to find. Much of the damage you see in the photos is from necrotizing fasciitis and MRSA and other soft tissue infections -- the result of lack of access to sterile injection equipment more than the actual drug being used.

On a personal note, I really, really hate this kind of hysterical, stigmatizing drug panic media coverage. People who use drugs are not zombies. They're human beings, not rotting limbs. The media's need to show awful photos, and the public's uncritical willingness, even eagerness, to believe the worst is not us at our best.

I do have some links to more information on krokodil I'll post.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:45 AM on October 16, 2013 [229 favorites]


Um, bit confused by the tone of this post. Is it genuinely horrifying if I click on the links, or some element of irony/sarcasm that it's now a US problem, or is this a take-off of media hysteria? Kinda confused.
posted by Wordshore at 7:46 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Theory I heard circulating in my conspiracy-minded acquaintances: This drug fad was started by Russians who want to thin the population of drug users.

My theory: somehow this fad will be used to ramp up even more funding for the drug war. We just need a prettier victim. A teenage prom queen on the level of Lenny Bias.
posted by surplus at 7:47 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The drug, which also is known as Crocodile, consists of codeine tablets mixed with gasoline, paint thinner, butane and other chemicals to create an injectable drug that destroys blood vessels, killing tissue near an injection point, said Dr. Abhin Singla, St. Joseph’s director of addiction services. It causes gangrene, which results in scaly green skin from which the drug gets its name.

Where do I sign up!?!?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:47 AM on October 16, 2013


I was listening to a youtube video (crashcourse maybe?) on this my wife was playing the other night while I was playing one of the Scarecrow levels in Arkham Asylum, and at first I thought it was part of the game. It does sound like something the Joker would cook up to unleash on Gotham City.
posted by selfnoise at 7:48 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes Wordshore the images are genuinely horrifying but like gingerbeer said the whole thing is way over sensationalized and most of the tissue damage is due to infection and/or the chemical processes they use in making the drug....inject a solution with iodine and red phosphorus into your skin and the drug part is the lest if your worries.
posted by Captain_Science at 7:48 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's erowid on desomorphine.

The best article I know of on what krokodil is, from the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Interview with Jean-Paul Grund, author of above article.

Article from a colleague about it.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:50 AM on October 16, 2013 [51 favorites]


Worshore: The links contain lots of pictures of damaged flesh of people who have used the drug. They may be NSFW and I wanted to warn people. The tone (especially the GASP) is indeed a take off of the breathless nature of many news sources about it. However, I don't think this drug is a joke. Some drugs are in fact pure evil. This sounds like one of them. Its spread to poor communities in the US seems like genuine cause for alarm.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:50 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Phone the neighbors, wake the kids, this is an extravaganza you won't want to miss!
posted by ReeMonster at 7:50 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I always get disappointed about krokodil stories, because for a brief moment I think they're about Krookodile. (image refreshingly SFW and adorbs)
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:51 AM on October 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


I am absolutely sure that this overhyped, but as Drew Magary said last week on Twitter, it says a lot about people that you can WARN them about a drug that eats human flesh and they'll still take it.

But it's that human impulse that makes drug hysteria even more dangerous. Every body pretends they don't understand it. Except for the thing that they are addicted to -- that's different. And once we start lumping it all together, people make bad choices. And so it is and so it probably, unfortunately, always will be.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:51 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I look forward to trying this, minus the gasoline, paint thinner, butane and other chemicals.
posted by Caskeum at 7:53 AM on October 16, 2013


The link contains photos of people who are claimed to have used the drug, to be clear. Many of the photos that were in an earlier HuffPo piece were even labeled as people who had been using heroin, not krokodil, and other photos were recognized by a colleague as having been in circulation before krokodil was even a thing. It's worth being critical about where the photos are really coming from and why.

Injecting drugs, especially in the environment of drug prohibition, can indeed cause major health problems. Jumping to the conclusion that it's some freaky drug, rather than the result of a lack of access to treatment and sterile syringes and good information, is seeing the proverbial zebras instead of horses.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:54 AM on October 16, 2013 [45 favorites]


gingerbeer: Injecting drugs, especially in the environment of drug prohibition, can indeed cause major health problems.

Someone pretty smart once told me "Prohibtion isn't regulation - it's the absence of regulation."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:57 AM on October 16, 2013 [79 favorites]


Are the drugs we already have just not cutting it, or what? "Crack is cheap and get's you fucked up, but let me try these bath salts."
posted by Brocktoon at 8:02 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


You're back! Hello!
posted by gingerbeer at 8:02 AM on October 16, 2013


it says a lot about people that you can WARN them about a drug that eats human flesh and they'll still take it.

From the fact that people take it despite the fact that it eats your flesh, you can rationally conclude that the enjoyment of taking the drug outweighs the negative utility of having your flesh eaten! (/freakonomics)
posted by escabeche at 8:04 AM on October 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


I just realized if you took the media version of Bath Salts and mixed the drug with the media version of Krokodil, you would get a real life zombie.... Green, rotting, people eaters.

Well anyway, if this media craze continues, the winner will again be Big Pharma. Anything to take the focus of the rampant abuse and destruction caused by the "normal" benzos and opiates.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:05 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


If krokodil has indeed spread to the U.S., it's going to be at best an opportunity to discuss the war on drugs, specifically in relation to poverty. Far more likely we're just going to get a bunch of the "FLESH-EATING SUPER HEROIN!!!1!" sensational click-bait bullshit that lazy journalists have been drooling over since the pictures first started coming out of Russia.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:05 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Brocktoon: Are the drugs we already have just not cutting it, or what?

From gingerbeer's article from a colleague about the drug:
In Russia, there is no methadone, drug treatment is totally inadequate, the street price of heroin can be very high and drug users are left to struggle with their addictions with no real therapeutic assistance. In that awful climate krokodil emerged and spread. Lacking any real alternatives, drug users attempt to manage their addictions themselves by creating a substitute for heroin.
Kind of like if the war on drugs actually worked, but there was no other way to get high.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:06 AM on October 16, 2013 [7 favorites]



> Well anyway, if this media craze continues, the winner will again be Big Pharma.

Krokodil is in many ways already a product of Big Pharma, as it turns out. It's manufactured from codeine pills, which are more easily available and cheaper than heroin in Russia.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:07 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm all for caution vs hysteria when it comes to reporting about new drugs but even in gingerbeers article from the International Journal of Drug Policy (titled "Breaking worse") gems like this have to make it clear this is something to be a bit alarmed about: "The short half-life, limited high after the impact effect and, in particular the need for frequent administration may narrow the attention of users on the (circular) process of acquiring, preparing and administering the drug, leaving little time for matters other than avoiding withdrawal and chasing the high..." Combine that with the fact that its cheaper to make ("The process needs very little laboratory equipment and involves the use of highly toxic, low cost and easily available chemicals...") and you have the potential for an epidemic on the level of crack, right? Perhaps? Anyway, it's scary.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:07 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Many of the photos that were in an earlier HuffPo piece were even labeled as people who had been using heroin, not krokodil, and other photos were recognized by a colleague as having been in circulation before krokodil was even a thing. It's worth being critical about where the photos are really coming from and why.

Ugh, I remember seeing some dumb slideshow going around Facebook that purported to be "freaky mutated fruit from Fukushima!!" But I had seen half of the photos before, they were mostly just random mutated fruits and radiation had nothing to do with it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:08 AM on October 16, 2013


I was hoping this post would be about Schnappi. Schnappi schnappi schnappi.
posted by cmyk at 8:09 AM on October 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


I figured out the solution: Legalize weed. Yes this is my solution to every single public health or economic issue in the United States. No I do not see a problem with that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:11 AM on October 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


In the comments of the earlier HuffPo article, someone found the video that the still photo in the Gothamist link uses of the man with the disfigured face. The video is in russian, but some russian speakers were able to ascertain that the man got those injuries from a fight, not Krokodil.

I'm having a hard time finding the comment now, and the photo is no longer shown with the story. Hmm.
posted by mai at 8:14 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would wish this post were instead about Gena the Krokodil, friend of Cheburashka.
posted by JHarris at 8:15 AM on October 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


The ironic thing is that sensationalist scare stories about evil drugs are one of the vital ingredients in the kind of harm those stories feed on. The more stigmatized intravenous drug usage becomes, the less sympathy they get from law enforcement and medical workers, and the more likely they don't get clean drugs, clean needles and quick treatment of skin infections.
posted by idiopath at 8:17 AM on October 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


/!\ HORRIFYING NEW PHOTO OF KROKODIL VICTIM /!\
posted by theodolite at 8:18 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Are they being told it's krokodil when they are buying it? Because if not, that's murder.
posted by Renoroc at 8:20 AM on October 16, 2013


NSFW!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:21 AM on October 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Here's a photo of the 'dile I bought over the weekend.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:27 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Couple technical questions, for any science type people who know what the hell they're on about to tackle:

1) would the gasoline and phosphorous based extraction method they're talking about here be of use on say, Oxycodone? Or is it only codeine pain killers that are manufactured with other stuff that they have to be extracted from? Like the Russian version of Tylenol 3s?

2) Far away and long ago when I used to visit more scandalous parts of the web, I definitely remember reading a simple cold water extraction method for codeine pills. If that exists, why in the hell would anyone use gasoline instead? Some difference between Russia OTC painkillers and ours?
posted by Diablevert at 8:29 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


World's Most Dangerous FPP
posted by mullacc at 8:32 AM on October 16, 2013


Being hooked on God is more powerful,’ Annie replies. ‘We’d get up in the morning and start reading the Bible straight away, and they explained all about religion. It made your head spin, you know ... three hundred and sixty degrees.’

‘But you don’t get high on the Bible,’ I suggest tentatively.

‘No,’ she quietly agrees, ‘and it says, ‘Don’t have friends who do bad things’, but I’ve got a husband who’s a junkie.’


One of the best articles I've read, very humane and not voyeuristic look at Krokodil. Metafilter post
posted by litleozy at 8:35 AM on October 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's manufactured from codeine pills, which are more easily available and cheaper than heroin in Russia.

That seems odd, considering that the largest opium producer in the whole world is like, just around the corner.
posted by elizardbits at 8:41 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


That seems odd, considering that the largest opium producer in the whole world is like, just around the corner.

U-S-A! U-S-A!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:43 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is really an acid/base extraction that is needed to purify the opoid from the fillers in the pills. he acid will protonate the opoid and drag it into the water leaving behing all of the other hydrophobic compounds. You can then deprotonate (or freebase) the protonated alkaloid and extract it back into an easily evaporatable solvent (like say ether just not around any naked flames just ask Richard Pryor) and you'll have extracted the alkaloids from the pills. All of the alkaloids this isn't a selective process. It should leave behind the tylenol though so you should be all set for that. A back of the envelope calculation you could probably go from the 20 tablet of 20 mg/300 mg tablet to about half a gram of 80% pure codeine or oxycodone. You could also transform oxycodone into desmorphine as well, but it would take different steps (possibly easier ones depending on route) and you would end up with different impurities.
posted by koolkat at 8:43 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


For a second I hoped this was about St. Vincent's manic, vicious, not-on-any-of-her-albums freak-out tune Krokodil.

The war on drugs is not a war on drugs, it is a war on people who take drugs. And in the rhetoric of the war on drugs, people who take drugs are no longer people, but scary fleshmonsters.

Makes me think of the panic around crackbabies when I was growing up. I somehow got it into my six-year-old head that crackbabies were these freaky unheimlich not-quite-human creatures, based on what I was picking up from my media environment and the culture around me. But it turns out nope (NYT Retro-Report, "Revisiting the 'Crack-Baby' Epidemic That Was Not")
posted by erlking at 8:43 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Brocktoon: "Are the drugs we already have just not cutting it, or what? "Crack is cheap and get's you fucked up, but let me try these bath salts.""

It's a different kick. Crack tends to amp you, this stuff takes you down. That's like saying "Oh! You want to smoke a joint? Why not do some meth instead?:
posted by Samizdata at 8:43 AM on October 16, 2013


One additional reason to be critical of the coverage --

From the CNN article, "According to the Joliet hospital, the five people brought in who may have used krokodil said they thought they were buying heroin."

We only have the assertion from the doctor (aka the unindicted co-conspirator from this story) that their problem was krokodil, and not more standard soft tissue infections. The people using the drug thought it was heroin.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:44 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: "I figured out the solution: Legalize weed. Yes this is my solution to every single public health or economic issue in the United States. No I do not see a problem with that."

Other than raising the amount of money I need for groceries...
posted by Samizdata at 8:52 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


The video is in russian, but some russian speakers were able to ascertain that the man got those injuries from a fight, not Krokodil

Yeah, but the fight started during an an argument about the potential social and economic benefits of legalizing so-called "soft drugs" as a way to free up resources to help treat people who had become addicted to poorly manufactured and potentially lethal opiates.

So.... Krokodil epidemic, right?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:53 AM on October 16, 2013


I would wish this post were instead about Gena the Krokodil, friend of Cheburashka.

Me too. Cleanse your eye palate with this Russian krokodil.
posted by msbrauer at 8:54 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


filthy light thief: "In Russia, there is no methadone, drug treatment is totally inadequate, the street price of heroin can be very high"

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Russian form of the War on Drugs has a different outcome than the US version...
posted by chavenet at 9:01 AM on October 16, 2013


It is really an acid/base extraction that is needed to purify the opoid from the fillers in the pills. he acid will protonate the opoid and drag it into the water leaving behing all of the other hydrophobic compounds....A back of the envelope calculation you could probably go from the 20 tablet of 20 mg/300 mg tablet to about half a gram of 80% pure codeine or oxycodone.

Bearing in mind that most of what I know about chemistry I learned from binge-watching breaking bad last week, it sounds to me like you're saying that the use of these solvents is necessary in order to completely extract the opioids from the NSAIDs. But is the yeild of the cold water method really that bad, that it'd be worth risking gangrene from skin-popping? I looked it up --- it basically suggests dissolving the pills in water and then making a junkie granita out of them, then passing through two filters. The NSAID crystalizes and gets left behind, the opiod -- or most of it anyway --- gets through.

I dunno, maybe the cold water method is simply not well known and this has taken its place, this is all underground knowledge passed along mostly by traditon, after all.

Something about still doesn't make sense to me, though. I mean if you get 60% yield one way and 95% another, but the 95% way stands a good chance of rotting your arm off, who would go for that? Especially when the key ingredient is OTC anyway, like it is in Russia --- why not just scrounge up enough for another bottle?
posted by Diablevert at 9:11 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


From a previous post about Retro Report there's a video about media coverage of crack babies.
posted by RobotHero at 9:15 AM on October 16, 2013


They should set up a booth offering free samples at Union Pool and 285 Kent.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:21 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, great, so what am I supposed to do with this cupboard full of jenkem now?
posted by Fnarf at 9:34 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meh. The world's most dangerous drug is milk. EVERYONE - absolutely everyone - who has ever tried it will eventually die.
posted by three blind mice at 9:35 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did you know that sugar can kill you and wheat flour causes Alzheimer's?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:46 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I heard about a guy that died shortly after thinking about milk.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:49 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bearing in mind that most of what I know about chemistry I learned from binge-watching breaking bad last week, it sounds to me like you're saying that the use of these solvents is necessary in order to completely extract the opioids from the NSAIDs.

I doubt the use of the scary-seeming solvents has anything to do with the harm of the drug. In the liquid-liquid extraction step used to separate the drug into the water phase, you're going to leave any organic solvents behind. Gasoline, paint thinner, ether, etc. are basically immiscible with water, so they'll be removed almost completely in this step. Then there's an additional evaporation step, which will help get rid of any traces.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:54 AM on October 16, 2013


Great. Just what the Harper regime needs to fuel the banning of 222s.
posted by scruss at 9:57 AM on October 16, 2013


"Prohibtion isn't regulation - it's the absence of regulation."
It's much more than that; it's the prevention of any form of justice.

Even anarchists like to imagine some form of decentralized deterrence of wrong-doing. But if a participant in a victimless crime becomes the victim of a real crime, what are they to do? Try to go to the police and you're just another "unimportant criminal"; try to do the police's job and you just upgraded yourself to "important criminal". Even the underworld equivalent of "Consumer Reports" would be a high-profile target for prosecution.
posted by roystgnr at 9:59 AM on October 16, 2013


The people using the drug thought it was heroin.

Didn't John-Paul say in that interview that it invariably comes as a liquid? Pretty hard for anyone to mistake that for heroin, I'd have thought.

For the last twenty years or so, we've had ongoing problems with contaminated heroin -- often containing anthrax spores -- causing exactly this kind of necrotizing fasciitis. I understand there's no shortage of examples of this happening in the USA, particularly on the west coast where people inject black tar heroin.

The causes are the same -- shitty bathtub lab technique, but in the absence of any lab work to the contrary, I'd bet my money on not-krokodil.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:22 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


***A PICTURE OF THE WORST CASE EVER! WARNING WARNING WARNING! THIS IMAGE WILL HAUNT YOU FOR WEEKS!***
posted by Monkeymoo at 11:26 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


CHILLING IMAGE OF KROKODIL MAN
posted by Copronymus at 12:01 PM on October 16, 2013


I would wish this post were instead about Gena the Krokodil, friend of Cheburashka.

Well there is this, which sort of bridges the gap.
posted by Kabanos at 12:14 PM on October 16, 2013


Isn't this another moral panic, like "bath salts"? That guy in Florida who chewed off that other's guy's face was actual high on cannabis (which can also cause psychosis), FWIW.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:37 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


> The causes are the same -- shitty bathtub lab technique, but in the absence of any lab work to the contrary, I'd bet my money on not-krokodil.

Agreed, Peter. If the individuals using the drug said it was heroin, I infer that it was sold to them as heroin. It's only the doctor who claims it was something different, that he has no experience with, and he leaps to the conclusion that it's some strange drug, rather than any of the types of soft tissue infections that can cause severe damage.

I rarely agree with the DEA, but the DEA is saying that this isn't krokodil, and that there is not krokodil in the US. For once, I'm inclined to believe them.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:26 PM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


So what we have is breathless, attention-grabbing, and horrifying stories about The Latest Evil Drug!!!!!... and a fair amount of evidence that some of this is hype and click-bait.

Alerting others to factual health information is laudable. Spreading hysterical bullshit is not. From what I've seen, it's Reefer Madness, part 117.

Intravenous, illegal drugs are uniformly terrible, mainly because of the non-drug problems like tetanus, HIV, and necrosis from damaged injection areas.

But right now every hack journalist out there is selling some print with "Krokodil" in the headlines.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:32 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Diablevert: Far away and long ago when I used to visit more scandalous parts of the web, I definitely remember reading a simple cold water extraction method for codeine pills. If that exists, why in the hell would anyone use gasoline instead? Some difference between Russia OTC painkillers and ours?

To answer this and your later question, the cold water extraction (CWE) method is used by people who have pharmaceutical opiates and want to use them recreationally. You mention Tylenol 3s so you know that codeine and other opiates like hydrocodone are often mixed with acetaminophen. People who want to take 4 or 8 or even more times the therapeutic dose CWE their dose because taking that much acetaminophen can be acutely dangerous or cause liver damage over a long period of time. The extraction allows the acetaminophen to be mostly filtered out.

If you look at the Erowid link gingerbeer posted, krokodil is desomorphine. The CWE method just extracts the opiate from the rest of the ingredients (giving you mostly "clean" codeine or hydrocodone or whatever that you can take a lot of without the acetaminophen risk) while the krokodil cooking with all those solvents and hydrocarbons processes the codeine into something else which Erowid says is "similar to heroin or oxycodone". So people taking it know it's unhealthy, it's just probably closer to the heroin they're addicted to than codeine.
posted by edeezy at 1:34 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't really understand why this post is still up, to be honest. Most of the links are obfuscatory, if not outright bullshit - as incisively captured by Gingerbeer.

I also don't really understand the jokey tone of so many comments about something that - while not existing in the US - is genuinely horrifying and another symptom of miserable life in Russia. Is there really anything funny about addiction? I feel like many of these comments are wilfully ignorant and frankly show a real lack of empathy.
posted by smoke at 3:48 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand why this post is still up, to be honest.

Very few flags, well-warned post, people who want to avoid it can avoid it. Please feel free to follow-up in MetaTalk or via the contact form, not here.
posted by jessamyn at 3:53 PM on October 16, 2013


Meta
posted by smoke at 4:14 PM on October 16, 2013


Not to be flippant or dismissive, but I don't get shit like Krokodil or lean.

You've already got the codeine, why not just have a nice time with that? Sip the sizzurp, crush the pills and put em up your nose. Have a drink and sloooooow down for a day or several. Kids these days.
posted by elr at 6:12 PM on October 16, 2013


Lean is sizzurp+sprite, pretty much.
posted by klangklangston at 6:47 PM on October 16, 2013


Anyway, big ups to Gingerbeer here!
posted by klangklangston at 6:48 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


So what we have is breathless, attention-grabbing, and horrifying stories about The Latest Evil Drug!!!!!

It's metabolically bisturbile!
posted by flabdablet at 1:37 AM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This much I can say with conviction: the wire-saw amputation of the person's foot connected only to their body by bone is impressive for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the extent to which this stuff can erode flesh and nerves. I'm usually horrified but that case is so extreme it's surreal.

Reminds me of animals chewing off limbs to escape traps... what kind of pain were those damaged people in that they willingly killed off their own bodies?

Meanwhile, scare is the name of the game, and it does no good. Recent reports saying that drugs are in ample supply, and of good quality, in most places in the world; why would people need to use this crap?

We need a humane approach to drugs and drug users and the laws surrounding them, or we will see a progression of destructive new drugs come along to get around the illegalities of safer ones.

Reminds me of stories of tainted gin victims going blind during prohibition.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:31 AM on October 17, 2013


If you look at the Erowid link gingerbeer posted, krokodil is desomorphine. The CWE method just extracts the opiate from the rest of the ingredients (giving you mostly "clean" codeine or hydrocodone or whatever that you can take a lot of without the acetaminophen risk) while the krokodil cooking with all those solvents and hydrocarbons processes the codeine into something else which Erowid says is "similar to heroin or oxycodone". So people taking it know it's unhealthy, it's just probably closer to the heroin they're addicted to than codeine.

Ah, now I gotcha. When they say they were using OTC codeine to make the drug I guess i assumed it was a case of extracting and concentrating, but they're actually cooking/distilling into a more potent opiod. Now it makes sense. Thanks!
posted by Diablevert at 7:36 AM on October 17, 2013


Many people are bad acetylators and derive little effect from codeine. Bump it up to morphine or desomorphine or hydromorphone or what have you and tic tacs become AAA hard drugs. Quote unquote.
posted by lordaych at 8:53 AM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pharmacogenetics
posted by lordaych at 8:59 AM on October 17, 2013


In the Houston hip hop scene a lot of cats hit the lean just to check it out and don't get what the deal is. They're likely just feeling the promethazine (whee, a little sedation and it takes the itchy effect away from codeine, which is another reason people like to use harder or synthetic substitutes) but not the codeine.
posted by lordaych at 9:19 AM on October 17, 2013


Weed and the face eater guy
posted by lordaych at 10:39 AM on October 17, 2013


Drugs: Legalize them. Monitor and regulate them. Tax them. Stop the rest of the bullshit.
posted by Splunge at 7:56 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Drugs: Legalize them. Monitor and regulate them. Tax them. Stop the rest of the bullshit.

Also, make effective treatment for addiction to any recreational drug (including alcohol) part of standard healthcare insurance. It's a sociomedical problem, not a criminal problem.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:15 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Agreed. Seconded. All in favor say TSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSt. WHOOOOOSHHHHH!
posted by Splunge at 4:04 PM on October 25, 2013


This Chicago Tribune article has a good update on krokodil.

"Some experts in law enforcement and public health say it's unlikely the drug will be widely used beyond the remote areas of Russia and eastern Europe where it became popular a decade ago.

The Tribune contacted health officials in nine states where reports of krokodil have surfaced in the media, but no agency, yet, has found conclusive proof that the drug is in use. The number of unverified cases recorded by poison control centers in states where krokodil has been reported in the media is barely into double digits.

Health authorities and hospital officials in Oklahoma and Utah said cases of krokodil use there remain unconfirmed or were debunked. In 2012, the American Association of Poison Control Centers noted two reports of krokodil use, neither of which have been confirmed."
posted by gingerbeer at 10:12 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


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