What is Krokodil – Side effects


What Is Krokodil?

What is the word krokodil? This medicine first appeared in the 1930s under the name desomorphine. Krokodil became illegal in 1936 after researchers discovered it offered no medical benefit. In addition, it produced a myriad of adverse side effects.

The most notable of these adverse effects is the appearance of itchy and green skin, an inflammatory reaction at the injection site due to the death of skin cells. The gangrene cells spread when the skin begins to die, creating rough and green skin. Many people using krokodil for a long time have skin resembling crocodiles, which is why the drug is given its street name.

What is Krokodil?

The usage has been low for many years. However, using krokodil in international settings became a problem in 2002. Patients with other addictions to opiates frequently took Krokodil.

The majority of users are aware of the risks of this drug. It is more accessible and cheaper than heroin and other opiates, providing a rapid and potent high. It can use to replace heroin by people looking for a high.

Veteran Use Of Krokodil

The drug is most commonly referred to as krokodil. It is the Russian term for “crocodile” because of its severe adverse impacts on the skin, and you may also tell it’s an alligator-like drug. However, in reality, the word “krokodil” is a common name for the drug desomorphine, which was first developed as a synthetic opioid for pain relief.

In Russia, where krokodil is the most sought-after, people typically combine codeine tablets (opioid pain relief) with other drugs to make desomorphine or something similar. Things like lighter fluids, household cleaners, gasoline, and hydrochloric acids are some substances that mix with codeine tablets to create Krokodil.

side effects of desomorphine

This “homemade” recipe is highly effective in getting users high, but only for a brief time. It quickly makes them dependent and requires additional doses of this drug to perform its functions.

Krokodil is a relatively new drug for its users in the United States. In the past, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared no evidence of its use.

This substance has a high risk to veterans because it’s a less expensive substitute for heroin. Veterans suffering from emotional or physical injuries from serving may look into drugs like krokodil and other painkillers to find relief. Krokodil is ten times more potent than morphine.

Therefore, it is highly addicting for veterans. Additionally, veterans addicted to the drug are not just at risk of becoming addicted. Still, they are vulnerable to its dangerous adverse negative effects.

Krokodil Side Effects

The most commonly reported adverse side effect of krokodil is skin converts black and scaly after the injection of the drug. According to reports, individuals do not need to take the medication long enough, which can cause permanent damage to the bone. Let’s look at the adverse side effects that give the drug its street name and the other negative consequences.

Krokodil side effects

a) Skin Necrosis

Reports show patients experience significant swelling and pain around the injected area. The injury due to toxic effects in the production of the drug cause erosive damage to the skin.

b) Muscle And Cartilage Damage

The skin with ulcers often leads to severe cartilage and muscle injury. It continues to open before sloughing away and exposing the bone. Depending on the dose, krokodil can be as effective as morphine. Due to its ability to relieve pain, most people don’t notice the adverse side effects and delay the treatment until a lot of harm, such as Gangrene.

c) Blood Vessel Damage

Krokodil may cause damage to blood vessels, which prevents tissue from receiving the blood. Gangrene risk increase due to the damage of a possible blood vessel. If a blood clot causes inflammation in a vein and the condition persists, it might lead to thrombophlebitis.

d) Bone Damage

Infections of the bone (osteomyelitis) and the death of bone (osteonecrosis) in areas of the body apart from the injection site. Bacteria can enter the bone through deep tissue wounds and cause infections. When bone resorption occurs, the blood supply cuts off or drastically decreases from the bone.

Amputations are sometimes required to treat this kind of injury.
The use of krokodil link to a variety of more severe side effects and complications, such as:

  • pneumonia
  • meningitis
  • sepsis is also known as blood poisoning
  • kidney failure
  • liver damage
  • brain damage
  • Drug overdose causes death


Opioids have caused much harm within the United States, as fentanyl, heroin, and others have all been responsible for the 72,000 annual deaths caused by drugs nationwide. In contrast, there are plenty of opioids that have been causing harm to people.


Krokodil is among these opioids that have impacted thousands of Russian citizens. While there is a chance that the U.S. hasn’t been affected by this substance, knowing about it could help when learning about addiction to opioids.

If you think you or someone close to you suffers from a form of addiction to opioids, Landmark Recovery is here to assist. Get in touch with intake counselors to discuss your treatment choices.


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