Understanding Krokodil Addiction and Recovery Options | AspenRidge

Understanding Krokodil Addiction and Recovery Options

There’s a new drug scourge sweeping the nation: Krokodil. This drug is known by many different names and spellings. Users also call it the crocodile drug, the zombie drug, the devil’s breath, gator drug, croc drug, and more. Scientists call it desomorphine. Police and families everywhere don’t care what it’s called, they just know it’s bad news. Time magazine calls it the world’s deadliest drug. This is a fitting title. Most crocodil users die in one to two years. Some people have likened it to flesh-eating heroin. However, krokodil is an incredibly dangerous drug, no matter what it’s called. This post will explain what crocodil is, why it’s so dangerous, and what treatment options are available for those suffering from addiction to the gator drug. 

What Is Krokodil?

Krokodil got its name because of one of the effects of abusing it. The drug damages blood vessels. It also causes thrombosis. This gives the skin a scaly and rugged look. It was first discovered in 1932. Doctors stopped using the drug in 1981. It was used to treat intense pain and sedate patients. It is now a Schedule I narcotic. This means that it has no accepted medical use and a high risk of abuse. The only country that still used the drug as of 2013 was Switzerland. It was used under the brand name Permonid. Croc is an opiate. The krokodil recipe usually involves codeine and plenty of highly toxic chemicals. The drug effects include the same list as other opiates. Specifically, a sense of euphoria and drowsiness. These effects are extremely intense but very short-term. In fact, the effects of the crock drug go by faster than heroin and other opiates. However, crocodil causes several other effects. The most noticeable effect is on the skin. There are other effects as well. We’ll talk about those soon. First, it is important to understand the signs of krokodil abuse and the signs of krokodil addiction. 

Krokodil: Signs of Abuse

Most people that use the crocodile drug already have a well-established addiction. However, more people will use the drug as it becomes more common. One sign of crocodil abuse is track marks. The drug is frequently injected. A needle mark on the skin is called a track mark. The drug leaves another clear sign if it is injected. The person’s skin becomes scaly, green, and infected. The drug can also be snorted or swallowed. People who use the drug like this will show similar signs to opiate abusers. They are frequently very tired. Moreover, they are often depressed when they are awake. In fact, depression is a common symptom of croc use. People are very hard to wake up when they are high on the drug. Reports say that they lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. Reports also show that users become distant and have very low energy.  

Krokodil: Signs of Addiction

Krokodil addiction sends many of the same signals as other addictions. The user needs to be on the drug nearly all the time. They get anxious when they aren’t confident that they can get more. Addicts also suffer from physical signs of addiction. Someone who is addicted will start going through withdrawal if they don’t get the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include pain, constipation, fever, cold sweats and more. Additionally, people in withdrawal have a hard time focusing. Their brain has come to depend on the drug for its regular functions. Therefore, the lack of the drug causes plenty of effects on the mind. Depression is a common sign of crock abuse.

What Makes Krokodil So Dangerous?

There are several things take make crocodile a dangerous drug. While most opioids are dangerous because of the risk of overdose, krok has added risks. Krokodil is so dangerous because of its purity and production, and because of its strength. 

Purity and Production

The biggest thing that sets this drug apart from similar drugs is its purity and production. The drug is produced almost entirely by addicts and dealers in their own homemade labs. Other opiates, especially prescription painkillers, are made in a professional lab setting. Croc isn’t used for medicine almost anywhere in the world. As a result, the drug is produced almost entirely by addicts and dealers. Homemade labs lack professional quality control. Therefore, some of the chemicals used to make the drug continue to contaminate it. These chemicals include highly caustic agents. For example, one krokodil recipe calls for gasoline, paint thinner, and red phosphorus from matchsticks. These dangerous chemicals go directly into the body when the drug is injected. Additionally, homemade and illegal producers can’t get pure ingredients. Crocodile is made from codeine. However, most codeine comes with other drugs like acetaminophen or promethazine. As a result, they produce unpredictable reactions in the recipe. This means that people injecting the drug are also injecting a bunch of mystery chemicals into their bodies. This is where many of the skin eating and scaly side effects come from. 


Another reason why Krokodil is so dangerous is its strength. Desomorphine is about 10 times more powerful than morphine. This causes users to become addicted quickly. Additionally, it also increases the risk of an overdose. Remember that the drug is not produced in a controlled environment. Addicts have no way of knowing how much of the drug they’re using. Moreover, the nature of addiction means that they usually decide that more is better than less. This increases the risk of overdose even more. The produces an extremely intense high. However, the crash after the high is just as intense. As a result, users are tempted to use the drug again. This creates a cycle where the addict’s life is centered around the drug. The extremely powerful high followed by an equally powerful crash makes it even easier to justify using more of the drug. This cycle is extremely hard to break out of. The cycle can be so intense that addicts don’t even realize that they are stuck in a loop. This makes it hard to take action to get help. 

Krokodil Addiction  Recovery

The good news is that krokodil addiction doesn’t have to be a death sentence. There are several treatment options for people addicted to croc. Additionally, science has a pretty solid understanding of the best way to handle opiate addictions. Therefore, many of the methods that help people addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers can also help people addicted to krok. These options are neither perfect nor painless. However, given that the average life expectancy for a krokodil addict is one to two years, they are certainly a better option than giving in to addiction. 

Krokodil Recovery with Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT)

One of the most effective tools for treating opiate addiction is opiate replacement therapy, also known as ORT. This approach replaces the krokodil a person is addicted to with another drug. The drugs that ORT uses are designed to prevent abuse. One example of these drugs is suboxone. This drug activates a person’s opiate receptors. It also prevents other opiates from taking effect. Doctors use this drug to wean people off of opiates. The drug lasts a long time. Additionally, it has an ingredient that prevents users from injecting it.  This ingredient is called naloxone. Naloxone sends a user into immediate withdrawal when injected. As a result, it stops users from shooting their ORT drug. ORT is effective because it reduces the effects of withdrawal. There are many challenges to getting clean. However, withdrawal is one of the biggest. Reducing this challenge makes it easier for addicts to stay on the road to recovery. In fact, the Brookings Institution says that one of the reasons the krokodil problem is so bad in Russia is because ORT drugs like methadone, buprenorphine, and suboxone are banned. Studies show that ORT is one of the best tools for fighting opiate addiction. Opiate replacement therapy gives an addict the support they need to overcome their addiction. It is often used with other types of treatment. ORT makes other treatments more effective. It does this because it is difficult for someone to get to the root of their addiction while suffering from withdrawal. As a result, it is a very effective tool for fighting addiction. Other Krokodil Addiction Treatment Options

There are other crocodil addiction treatment options as well. Every person is different. In the same way, every addiction is different. Addicts benefit from different types of treatment. Therapy is an effective option for fighting krokodil addiction. Some treatment centers use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy works by making people aware of their own thoughts. They use this awareness to change their thoughts. Also, once you realize what you are thinking you can change your actions. CBT gives people a way to understand their desire to use drugs. They use this understanding to break addictive habits.   Equine therapy is another option. This form of treatment uses horses. Patients engage in horse training and horse riding. One of the hardest things about getting clean is staying engaged. An addicts brain is so used to being on a drug and focusing on a drug that it is hard to do anything else. Training and riding horses gives an addict a new skill to focus on. Moreover, it creates a calm and relaxing environment. This environment helps other forms of treatment be more successful. As a result, the patient gets the treatment and care they need to beat their addiction and greet a brighter tomorrow. 

Escape the Bite of the Krokodil

Krokodil is an extremely dangerous drug. It is made in unclean places. The drug is frequently contaminated with dangerous chemicals. It is incredibly powerful and causes a cycle of addiction very quickly. The drug produces one of the highest death rates in the world. Moreover, the flesh-eating properties of the drug create additional risk. Users risk gangrene and other deadly conditions. Users also risk permanent disfigurement, even if they survive. Thankfully, this drug doesn’t have to be a death sentence. There are many treatment options available. Addicts can find the support and strength they need to get clean. The road to recovery isn’t an easy one. However, it is one that’s well worth taking. Use the information in this post to stay away from krokodil. You should also use it to spot the signs of addiction in your friends and family. Help them understand that there are treatment options. No one should have to go through the pain of losing someone to this toxic drug. 

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