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Recreational Drugs: 3 New Threats to Know About

3. An Emerging Threat: Krokodil

Krokodil (pronounced crocodile) is a homemade substitute for heroin, invented in rural Russia. The chemical name for the main ingredient is desomorphine. Krokodil can turn your skin green or black and scaly, hence its name. “It’s getting a lot of attention because of its effect,” Moses says, but it’s not clear whether it has made its way into the U.S.

The drug is made from codeine mixed with household chemicals like paint thinner and gasoline, Sack says. It’s injected and can reportedly cause a high “ten times more powerful than morphine,” Sack says. 

It’s also three times as toxic, Moses says.

Bottom line: When young people choose to use these drugs, Moses says, they “are taking their lives into their hands.” 

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Reviewed on November 17, 2013

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