About ten years ago, Russian doctors began noticing strange wounds on the bodies of drug addicts. These dry, dark scaly patches of flesh were soon discovered to be the result of a drug aptly named ‘Krokodil’, that’s highly dangerous, addictive, and disturbingly easy to make.

Originally called ‘desomorphine’, the drug was initially developed for clinical use, but was soon synthesised in cookhouses in Russia. Effects of Krokodil are very similar to that of heroin, but the hit doesn’t last nearly as long, so users tend to take a lot more of it.

Krokodil can easily be cooked up with ingredients bought from a pharmacy and hardware store, the primary ingredient being codeine. The effects of the drug are startlingly similar to that of heroin, but can be cooked up for a fraction of the cost which is what makes it so attractive to manufacturers, dealers, and users.

Although relatively cheap to make, users of the drug pay harshly in other ways. The average life-span of a user being only 2-3 years. Wherever it’s injected, blood vessels burst, flesh dies, and can fall off the body in chunks.

While American drug-enforcement officials say that the reports of a Krokodil outbreak in the US may have been blown out of proportion, it’s hard not to worry about a drug that leaves it’s users with hard, scaly, reptile-like marks.

The Krokodil epidemic in Russia peaked but was remedied somewhat by a ban on over-the-counter codeine, making the necessary ingredient harder to come by. While the Krokodil problem in America isn’t nearly as bad as it was in Russia when it peaked, reports are surfacing of users losing fingers or chunks of flesh, or worse, winding up in the morgue with the tell-tale scales.