A cheap heroin substitute that has ruined countless lives in Russia has now made its way to the US. Not only is the drug highly addictive and dangerous, but it also causes many users flesh to rot off of their bodies. The street name for the drug is “Krokodil‘, apparently because it causes users skin to resemble that of a crocodile.
Krokodil is a “Desomorphine”, opiate drug that is mixed with gasoline and other toxic home products. The drug is 3 times cheaper than heroin but nearly 10 times as strong.
“We’ve had two cases this past week that have occurred in Arizona,” said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, the co-medical director at Banner’s Poison Control Center.
“As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we’re extremely frightened,” he continued.
“They extract it and even though they believe that most of the oil and gasoline is gone, there is still remnants of it. You can imagine just injecting a little bit of it into your veins can cause a lot of damage,” he said.
“When they do it repeatedly, the skin sloughs. It causes hardening of their skin. It will cause necrosis,” explained LoVecchio.
In the black market one of the major drawbacks is that there is no accountability among the people selling the drug. Since anyone can get kidnapped and thrown in a cage for even dealing with the stuff, it really doesn’t make sense for people to be plastering their names and logos all over the drugs.
In this age of corporate mercantilism logos and branding may seem like a really tacky idea, but when looking at the black market we can see the value in such things. Someone who is selling a product with their name on it, is going to go through far greater lengths to ensure the quality of their product, as opposed to someone who would remain anonymous.
This anonymity creates an incentive for people to be dishonest with what they sell. This could lead to rip offs, or downright contamination of the drug with unwanted harmful substances. This is why there was bathtub gin that would make you go blind if your drank it during alcohol prohibition. This is also the reason why some of the harder street drugs today are cut with toxic chemicals that increase the chance of overdose ten fold. The fact that the drugs need to be smuggled also creates the incentive to make drugs more potent, and thus in some circumstances more dangerous.
The increased potency and decreased availability inevitably leads to a massive increase in cost. The increased cost is a whole other issue with its own unique side effects in regards to drug safety. When the price of the real drugs go up, people just start huffing paint thinner, smoking bath salts and cooking up crystal meth in their basements, which is then even many times more dangerous than the unbranded drugs on the black market.