My teacher told us that there is a flesh eating form of heroin. None of my friends have heard this. Is it true?
TeenHealthFX can understand why you might doubt your teacher, because it seems to outrageous to be true. The sad reality is that, what your teacher told you is mostly true. The drug is not a form of heroin, it is an extremely powerful morphine derivative known as Desomorphine. It is a synthetic form of morphine developed in the 1930s in the United States. Desomorphine produces an opiate-like action with a fast onset and brief action. As a morphine derivative, it is about ten times more potent than morphine. There is no accepted medical use for desomorphine in the U.S. and it has been controlled in the U.S. since 1936.
Desomorphine started gaining notoriety around 2002 in Russia. It became known to users by its street names “Krokodil.” Its name reflects the black or green scaly skin and tough like the skin of a crocodile. At the time the combination of the Russian government cracking down on heroin use, along with shortages and the price increase in heroin, led users to look for a substitute that was cheaper and easy to get. Krokodil emerged as a homemade form of Desomorphine. Homegrown versions of the drug are made with codeine, which was readily available in over the counter cough medications. The codeine needs to be “cooked,” in a similar way as methamphetamine (Meth). To produce Krokodil, the codeine is mixed with ingredients including gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous (scraped from the striking pads on matchboxes.) The resulting liquid is injected into a vein. It takes about a half-hour to make the Krokodil and the high lasts from 60 minutes to 90 minutes. Since it is a relatively short “high,” users find themselves frequently using the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The process of “cooking” Krokodil produces large amounts of toxic substances, which are rarely removed from the end product. Injecting the impurities of the mix (mostly iodine and phosphorus) can cause serious damage of the skin, blood vessels, bone and muscles, that can lead to limb amputation in long-term users. In addition porous bone tissue, especially in the lower jaw, often starts to dissolve as a result of the drug's acidity. If the user misses the vein when injecting, an abscess can form, causing death of the flesh surrounding the entry-point. The prolonged use of the drug is terminal. Officials in Moscow have estimated the typical lifespan of a Krokodil addict is to be about two years
Russia outlawed the sale of over the counter codeine in 2012. It has helped to reduce the use of Krokodil, but the black market for codeine has prevented its demise.
Krokodil has not been a major factor in the United States according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). There have been reported cases in Illinois and Arizona but nothing on a large scale. Some of the media has rationalized that since heroin is not hard to find in the United States, that drug users here have no reason to resort to such desperate measures. The problem with this thinking is it implies that drug use has a rational and logic to it. It also does not take into account all the unregulated synthetic drugs that are used as substitute ingredients for Ecstasy and synthetic marijuana. Pure MDMA is not as readily available or cheap. Krokodil could be easily used as a substitute and sold as Ecstasy/Molly or sprayed on a leafy substance and sold as marijuana.
Teens often abuse prescription drugs because of the myth that these drugs provide a medically safe high.
It is estimated that major depressive disorder (MDD) affects about 5% of adolescents, and that between 10 - 15% of adolescents have some symptoms of depression at any one time.
Statistics show that giving a teen a credit card does not teach them to be financially responsible or to encourage self-restraint, but actually promotes a “spend now and deal with the consequences later” mindset.
Girls are more likely to intentionally abuse prescription drugs than boys.
The reality of excessive interest rates and fees that often accompany credit card use for teens, can put youngsters in a position where they are losing out on admission to graduate school, getting a job, or renting an apartment because of damaged credit history.
Less than 33% of teens with depression get help, yet 80% of teens with depression can be successfully treated if they seek help from a doctor or therapist.
Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for all persons age 6-33, and about 45% of these fatalities are alcohol-related crashes.
About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.
30% of teens with depression also have a substance abuse problem.
Freshmen bring an average of $1,585.00 in credit card debt to college.
About a third of women who seek services related to unprotected sex, such as pregnancy testing or emergency contraception, do not receive STD counseling, testing, or treatment.
7-10% of college students will drop out of school because of credit problems.
Teens with untreated depression are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, leading to higher rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Most smokers begin smoking as teens, and the average age of initiation is 12.5 years of age.
People with manic symptoms and Bipolar Disorder II are at a significant risk of later developing an alcohol abuse or dependence problem.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for 36% of all deaths in this age group.
The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is the highest of any industrialized democracy, nearly twice that of Great Britain and 10 times that of Japan. 4
Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use, and male high school students are more likely than female students to rarely or never wear seat belts.
A national study of women ages 15-44 found that women were almost twice as likely to receive contraceptive services rather than STD services.
The teenage pregnancy rate in the U.S. is at its lowest level in thirty years, down 36% since its peak in 1990. Research suggests that both increased abstinence and positive changes in contraceptive practice are responsible these recent declines in teen pregnancy.
A sexually active teenager who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within one year. 8
In the United States, at least 5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders. 11
Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 38% were speeding at the time of the crash and 24% had been drinking.
Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds overall. 16
Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. 22
One in four teenage girls in the U.S. had at least one common sexually transmitted disease.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths ages 15 to 20. 19
The highest Chlamydia rates occurred among women ages 15 to 19 and 20 to 24.
About 44% of rape victims are under age 18. Three out of every twenty victims (15%) are under age 12. 25
Each year, half of all HIV infections are among people under the age of 25.
Crash risk is particularly high during the first year that teenagers are eligible to drive.
One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes. 23
Teen girls ages 15-19 have the highest Gonorrhea rate of any age group.
The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16-19 is more than one and half times that of their female counterparts.
More than four in 10 young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 - nearly one million teen pregnancies a year 3
The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers; the risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. More than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco-related causes each year, and most of them began using tobacco before the age of 18.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group.
Underage drinking costs the U.S. more than $58 billion every year; enough to buy every public school student a state-of-the-art computer.
At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
Teens who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crimes and sexual assault, have serious problems in school, be involved in drinking-related traffic crashes, and develop problems with alcohol later in life.
Nearly all the poison deaths in the U.S. are attributed to drugs, and most drug poisonings result from the abuse of prescription and illegal drugs.
Alcohol kills 6.5 times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.
Persons aged 15-24, who represent only 14% of the U.S. population, account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) among females.
Among young people ages 12-17, prescription drugs have become the second most abused illegal drug, behind marijuana.