n African Journal of Psychiatry - Homemade heroin substitute causing hallucinations : scientific letter




Desomorphine, a synthetic opioid, can be synthesised from codeine, red phosphorous and iodine, however, the end result is impure and highly corrosive. The street name is 'krokodil' due to the characteristic skin scales users have after use. The effects on the user are similar to that of heroin, although they are reduced from 4-8 hours for heroin to 1 hour for homemade desomorphine. Due to the impure nature of krokodil, phlebitis and gangrene are common. Tissue damage is drastic and it is believed that users' life expectancy is only 2-3 years.


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