Vice documentaries are often pretty groundbreaking and sometimes intended to shock. I can’t think of any as groundbreaking or shocking as this one. Krokodil: Russia’s Deadliest Drug exposes the widespread use, in Russia, of a ridiculously dangerous new drug called ‘Krokodil’. The drug is actually the result of clandestine production of desomorphine, a derivative of morphine which was invented in the United States in 1932.
Desomorphine in its purest form would probably be relatively safe for consumption, just like Morphine, but in impoverished areas of Russia a variety of highly toxic substances such as lighter fluid or petrol are used to convert codeine from over-the-counter drugs into desomorphine. The addicts, who have resorted to the drug due to the high cost and unreliable supply of heroin, then inject the substance complete with petrol or lighter fluid contained within. This, as you would expect, then has a devastating effect on their health. The drug is actually called ‘Krokodil’, Russian for ‘Crocodile’, due to the scaly like appearance that a users skin takes in the months before it literally falls off of the bone. No joke. Users of the drug are expected to survive just two or three years of frequent use before dying, and despite this it has become Russia’s second most popular drug after heroin.
Only in Russia right? Apparently not, the drug is spreading throughout the former Soviet Union states such as Poland and use of the drug has even been reported in Germany where the media claim that several Krokodil deaths have already occurred.