Drugs & Medications

Heroin and Krokodil

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

What are symptoms of heroin use?

  • Coma
  • Constipation 
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Drowsiness
  • Hypoxia (lack of oxygen that reaches the brain) and can cause seizures
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory depression leading to apnea (unable to breathe)
  • Vomiting

Death may result from any of these complications.

What is Krokodil?

Krokodil (said like “crocodile”) or Russian heroin is homemade Desomorphine, which is created by mixing codeine with organic solvents to create a synthetic form of heroin. 

What are symptoms of krokodil use?

  • Gangrene - a discolored (green, black) scale-like skin that resembles a crocodile 
  • Severe infection leading to amputation and/or death
  • Severe tissue damage

For more information, please call the Banner Poison & Drug Information Center directly at (602) 253-3334 or call (800) 222-1222 for your local poison center.

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