A toxic, deadly drug has made its way onto US soil all the way from the streets of Russia. Krokodil (medically known as desomorphine) is an injectable opioid that is severely addictive and more potent than morphine. Last month the drug began popping up in pockets throughout the country, with symptoms being reported in Utah, Arizona and Illinois.

Named after the Russian word for “crocodile,” the drug is known for the green, scaly effect it produces on the skin of the user. Krokodil is in the same family as heroin, oxycodone and codeine, and those addicted to it have a life expectancy of roughly 2 years.

Among the dangers of this flesh-eating drug is the extent to which it targets reward circuits in the brain. Like other members of its opiate family, krokodil directly stimulates the brain’s “pleasure center,” creating a euphoric experience that is hard to turn down.

Dr. Richard Friedman, director of the psychopharmacology clinic at New York-Presbyterian Medical Center points out that krokodil has a uniquely addictive nature that exceeds that of other drugs. “It’s more rewarding than any other naturally occurring thing,” Friedman said. “Nothing feels quite as good as it does.”

Not only does krokodil have a direct stimulation to reward mechanisms in the brain, but it creates a high that is very short in duration. This means that the drug must be consumed more frequently in order to produce a sustained effect, thus increasing the user’s risk of addiction.

As shown in our previous post about bath salts, we find it crucial to notify our readers about the emergence of new and dangerous narcotics. We want to prevent unsuspecting people from experimenting with krokodil or standing by while someone they love experiments with it.

If you or someone you know has found or consumed krokodil, you should immediately report it as a medical emergency. There may not be much time before the user experiences irreversible health consequences. Alternatively, If you need general information or guidance through an opoid addiciton, our specialists are here to help 24 hours a day. Contact them at 877-383-2284.