HEROINE OF THE POOR
The desomorphine is an opiate derived from morphine and used in medicine for its strong analgesic effect, far superior to morphine.
This substance is coming to the fore in 2010 in Russia due to a sharp increase in its illegal production, because of its relative ease of synthesis from codeine. In fact, it can easily be obtained using codeine, iodine and red phosphorus, which give rise to a drug similar to desomorphine, but highly impure and contaminated with toxic and corrosive elements. In Russia such a “street drug” has been called Krokodil (crocodile) because it produces severe tissue damage, phlebitis and gangrene, but a cheaper alternative to the expensive and unavailable heroin.
The damage caused by krokodil is so devastating that the life expectancy of drug addicts who use it seem to be not more than three years, bringing serious skin lesions from the first use. Liver, kidneys and heart are the first organs that are affected by the drug already after the first injections.
According to what heroin-addicts say, its effects only lasts a few hours, but three times most powerful than heroin, and causing more dependence.
Only 1 of 100 addict would be able to detoxify.
This drug easily produced at home should be injected intravenously, because if accidentally injected intramuscularly leads to the total destruction of flesh and muscle, if not even the bones. Once in the bloodstream, it causes holes on the skin, like cigarette burns, that, slowly over time, become open sores. “The flesh is burned but we bear because cannot do without it, we’re addicted“, says a young krokodil-dependent.
The first cases of use and abuse of handmade krokodil were reported in eastern Siberia in 2002, but since then its use has spread throughout Russia, in the neighboring former Soviet republics and have arrived in other countries too. Years ago a sporadic use of the Krokodil were reported in Germany, while some media reported about some deaths.
In Russia is estimated that 100,000 persons die every year because of drug, with an estimated number of drug addicts 2.6000000-6000000. All are young, with an average age under 30 years, but teenagers also are involved. The city with a high rate of drug addicts is Tolyatti, in the center of Russia, which, due to economic problems, crisis, unemployment and more, has the highest rate of consumption of hard drugs in the world.
Russia is one of the central hubs of the international drug trade from the Far East and Central Asia. Its territory serves as a bridge to Europe, but very often is the main destination of the Afghan drugs. According to estimates of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, in Russia is consumed more than one-fifth of the drugs in circulation globally. Seventy tons of Afghan heroin arrive in the country each year, killing an average of 80 victims per day.
The Russian authorities have long been aware of the problem but have not yet been adopted appropriate measures to solve it because they consider drug-addicts as criminals, and because, as always, large economic interests at stake by the pharmaceutical companies that produce medications (such as codeine), from which addicts obtain the single substances to prepare the deadly mix.