We are not discussing crocodiles here, but given that even the most cursory, SafeSearch-on Googling of krokodil yields some of the most vile images you will ever see (DON’T DO IT!!!!), this stock photo of a crocodile will more than suffice. The flesh-eating intravenous drug does, in fact, get its name from the animal, as it causes a scalelike gangrene similar to the hide of the aquatic beast before progressing into abscesses and gangrene.
However, while crocodiles are kind of cute in photos, krokodil is decidedly NOT. It first rose to popularity in Russia (“krokodil” is Russian for “crocodile”) at least a decade ago due to heroin shortage, and while its main ingredient is a painkiller called desomorphine, it isn’t this component that causes the “rotting from the inside-out” effect of the drug that produces a high “three times stronger than heroin” — rather, the deadly side effects arise as a result of street chemists using codeine tablets mixed with substances like gasoline, paint thinner, or lighter fluid. Keep reading »