Reports indicate that Time Magazine’s 2016 World Deadliest Drug Desomorphine is being used in Gloucester. The drug is known on the streets as Krokodil because of the side effect of skin hardening that users experience. The skin of Krokodil addicts has been described as scaly, resembling a crocodile’s. Also known as the zombie drug, it is said to be ten times as powerful as heroin, and able to rot huge chunks of flesh away with a single dose.
Desomorphine has steadily gained popularity in Russia since the 2000s when it first became available in the country’s black markets. Use of it has also been reported in other countries in Europe, and North and South America. Gloucester is one of the few places in the UK where Krokodil has been used, and this instance marks the second time the drug is reportedly on the streets of the city.
Desomorphine’s popularity is attributed to its easily available ingredients which can comprise household items such as paint thinner and red phosphorous scraped from the side of matchboxes. In 2013, Dr Allan Harris, a GP at Bartongate Surgery told Vice Magazine that a patient lost a “huge crater” of flesh from his forearm because he used “one small injection” of the drug. In Dr Harris’ words: “He took out the area of about 12cm by 8cm of tissue, and quite deep as well–skin down to bone.”