Click here for an alphabetical listing

Krokodil Seen in Arizona

Not the dangerous animal, the dangerous drug. Krokodil is the street name for a heroin substitute. The name is Russian for crocodile and comes from the green, scaly skin that can appear at injection sites. Users of the drug face an addiction just as strong as heroin, with the addition of the flesh damaging results from injecting a homemade product containing, among other things, gasoline residues.

Like methamphetamine, a version of the drug can be made at home using fairly simple methods. Also like meth, the process uses dangerous chemicals. The precursor is codeine, which is converted into an injectable opioid: desomorphine. As long as a “cook” can get codeine to convert, they can make krokodil by combining it with other common ingredients.

In Arizona, news reports say that patients with the signs of krokodil use have showed up for treatment. “In Phoenix, physicians told toxicologists at the Banner Good Samaritan Poison Control Center that they spotted symptoms consistent with krokodil, an intravenous drug that is prevalent in Russia and Eastern European countries, according to a statement released to the Los Angeles Times.”

The real fear is that home cooks will do for opioid injection what they did for methamphetamine. Anyone willing to follow an Internet recipe and take some risks can cook up a batch. Until now, accessing a heroin-like drug meant dealing with a supply chain. Heroin is produced from poppies that aren’t grown in the US, so it is all smuggled in. But with a conversion from codeine, krokodil puts a version right in users hands.

So far, krokodil is still a fringe drug. The serious downsides of infection and tissue destruction appear to be keeping it unpopular. But the low-cost and ease of access will surmount the obvious downside. It’s already happened in Russia, but there is a difference. Under US law, codeine containing products are more carefully controlled. Unlike pseudoephedrine (used to make meth), which doesn’t require a prescription in most states, codeine is harder to get. Hopefully, that will work against the drug emerging as a real threat in the US. For now, all that can be done is to wait and see.


The contents of the web site (the "Site") are for informational purposes only. The Information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, tests or treatment, and does not create a physician-patient relationship. This Site and Deep Dive Media ("the Company") are not responsible for sending you to, referring you to or making recommendations about a doctor, a professional practice or health insurance company. NO LICENSED PHYSICIAN-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP IS CREATED BY USING INFORMATION PROVIDED BY OR THROUGH THE USE OF THIS SITE INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, TREATMENT CENTER REFERRAL FUNCTIONS OR LINKS TO OTHER SITES. The Company makes no guarantees, representations or warranties, whether expressed or implied, with respect to professional qualifications, expertise, quality of work or other information herein. Further the Company does not in any way endorse the individuals described herein. In no event shall the Company be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken by you in reliance on such information. You are STRONGLY ADVISED to perform your own due diligence prior to selecting a health care professional with activities, such as making confirming telephone calls to the appropriate licensing authorities to verify listed credentials and education. In addition you can further verify information about a physician or medical provider by confirming with the doctor's office, your current physician, the medical association relative to the doctor's specialty and your state medical board. See our Legal Statement for the complete terms and conditions governing your use of the Site.


Why Did You Visit This Site?
I am looking for treatment
A friend or family member is looking for treatment
Just Looking for Information
Total votes: 110

Call 1-855-216-4673 anytime to speak with an addiction specialist. Insurance Accepted.