Flesh-Rotting, Cheap Heroin Alternative Is Hot in Russia

06.21.11 Marina Galperina

Krokodil is ten times harder and three times cheaper than heroin. Its usage is reportedly reaching epidemic levels in Russia, and only in Russia. There’s no shortage of stomach-churning visuals of krokodil-lovers with their limbs spilling open with rot. Yeah, this one is yucky. (NSFW).

The high from this home-cooked, desomorphine-based cocktail of gasoline, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorous scraped from matchboxes and other toxic miscellany lasts an hour. It originated in former Gulag towns of Siberia in 2002, but spread among the poor nationwide. Its nickname “krokodil” means crocodile – after the particular sort of green, scaly gangrene it causes. Naturally, the government and the medical community are concerned, flooding all available media outlets with nightmarish photos like these.