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Maricela Escamilla

Professor Mr. Robert

HLTH 1050


Research Paper
Opium poppy also known as Papaver Somniferum L. Is a plant that is well known

throughout the nation and history. Grown in the Mediterranean region starting shown as early as

5000 B.C. The legal production for medicinal use is taking place in India, Australia, and Turkey,

whom produce about two thousand tons to supply the raw material to the world. The sap, that

contains alkaloids, that includes codeine and morphine, oxycodone, and heroin known as opiates.

The effects on a human body can range from euphoria, addiction, pain relief, cough suppression,

bowl relief and induce sleep. For medical physician they are the most cost effective and best

treatment for severe pain relief. The negative effects of using opiates can be respiratory

depression, slurred speech, sexual dysfunction, vomiting, increased pressure in the brain, and

more. Now, if mixed with non-sterile needles and other drugs mixed with opiates then the side

effects would include lung, brain, and skin abscesses, infected and collapsed veins, HIV and

Hepatitis, and or endocarditis. Not only is the poppy used for medicinal purposes but can be used

for culinary purposes, the poppy seed can be used for flavoring lemon cake, bagels, and muffins.

Although, the opium content is minimal when consuming the poppy seeds items, it can result

positive on a drug test. (2) The opium can be taken in a pill form, which may or may not be

combined already with other drugs, smoked, sniffed, injected intravenously. The physical

characteristics of opium drugs be found as liquid, powder, solid, or if commercially it would be a

fine brown powder. Most common names would be Big O, Black Pill, Joy plant, Midnight oil,
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and more. The reaction to the body can vary but is shown to cause dry mouth, constipation, and

mucous membrane in the nose. As well as leads in the to physical and psychological dependence,

often times leads to overdose. The overdose effects can be loss of consciousness, coma, seizures,

and possible death. (3) Which brings us to the opiate derivatives that were formed from the opium

poppy plant, the following included are morphine, codeine, heroin, thebaine, and oripavine. The

most powerful being morphine and heroine, appearing in large quantities within the plant. Not

only were opiates made but also synthetic opiates derivatives were created. Those include

fentanyl, lortab, norco and more. (4) According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health

(NSDUH), about 948,000 Americans were reported using heroin within the past year of 2016.

That has been and strikingly increasing since the year 2007, mostly from young adults ranging

from 18-25-year old. Luckily, among the youth the use has been declining ages ranging from 12-

17-year old being the lowest levels since the year 1991. With Heroin use on the continuing to

rise, the number of dependencies on heroin have increased and been meeting in the manual of

mental disorder in the diagnostic and statistics. It demonstrated that in the year of 2002 214,00

heroin use disorder inclined to 626,000 in 2016. Clearly showing that the impact of heroin is

shown not only across the United States but as well as coast to coast.
Heroin did not just stop in the United States but in England it has also been a

continuous battle. The Office for National Statistics have shows that deaths from heroin and

morphine have increased from 579 deaths to 952 death in the span of two years, starting from the

year 2012 that is an increase of 64%. The incline is due to various factors such as availability,

purity, and lower pricing. As well, as the mixing of other substances with the heroin, such as

alcohol, cocaine, or and methadone. Scotland has also seen a rise in deaths that included heroin

or morphine, and increase of 39% was recorded in the year of 2012.

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While opiates are still common, the synthetic derivatives are also sweeping the nation,

slowly replace heroin due to the cost, or possibly due to the availability. One of the most

terrifying drugs is known as the Krokodil, it commonly listed under the world’s deadliest drug.

The reason is due to the making of the product not the opioid content necessarily. The opioid

ingredient is the desomorphine, it is a synthetic opioid compared to morphine. Making it 10

times stronger compared to morphine. The reason for its terror is due the rapid onset when

injection the product only lasting briefly in comparison to heroin, this causes users to constantly

having to repeatedly inject continuously. This creates the users and their bodies to become

physical dependent, addicted, and create tolerance towards the drug. The worst part is that drug

has been shown to be flesh-eating bacterial infections. The DEA stated that for long-term users,

the skin appears to be like of a crocodile’s green scaled skin, hence the reason for the name. This

is due the result of blood vessel damage of the injection site. Also, causing thrombosis,

ulceration, necrosis, damage to the soft tissues, thrombophlebitis, and gangrene. Usually

resulting in amputation of the limb or possibly death. (7) The drug originally appeared in Russia,

specifically Siberia, then has spread nation wide from there. It was made due to Russia’s severe

heroin addiction, when one could no longer afford heroin, they had the ability to make the

krokodil drug. The drug itself is more potent and cost around a tenth of the price compared to

heroin. However, this comes at a deadly price, a Moscow heroin addict life expectancy is four to

seven years. An addict of Krokodil life expectancy is only a year or two. The primary reason is

because of the ingredients and process of making krokodil. Any drug addict can make this

ingredient by acquiring paint thinner, iodine, codeine (sold over the counters for headaches),

gasoline, red phosphorous (from match box strike pads, and hydrochloric acid. Once cooked with

paint thinner it the concoction will result in a liquid form which can then be injected
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intravenously. It only takes about 30 minutes to make, this high can last from 90 minutes to two

hours. Now the withdrawal differs from heroin as too, for example heroin’s withdrawal causes

pain and sickness for about ten days. Krokodil’s withdrawal causes extreme unbearable pain that

to avoid the addict from passing out they are injected with potent tranquilizers during the

withdrawal process. Doctors that are in charge of the Krokodil addicts say that this is the hardest

to cure and if they manage to get clean, they may be left with speech impediment, erratic

movements, and vacant gaze. Two regional governors stated that the krokodil drug accounts for

half of their addictions and deaths that are drug related. Making it the drug of choice nearly

replacing opiates.
In the state of Arizona there has only been two cases so far in the United States that

confirmed the drug krokodil was used. The co-director at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and

Drug Information Center located in Arizon, Dr. Frank LoVecchio confirmed that there were two

cases in Arizona. Although, he declined to comment on the patient’s conditions due to HIPAA

he did stated he was extremely frightened. He also stated the following “As far as I know, these

are the first cases in the United States that are reported.” Another Dr named Aaron Skolin, a

toxicologist at Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center mentioned that

“This is something we hoped would never make it to the U.S because it’s so detrimental to the

people who use it.” Since then more doctors have been commenting about the issues of krokodil

such as Dr. Ellen Marmur, chief of dermatological and cosmetic surgery in the Mount Sinai

Medical Center in New York City. She stated that she had never seen cases that krokodil was

involved in. But it did remind her of “skin popping,” when drug users typically inject

intravenously a substance into their skin directly due to damaged veins. This was done back in

the day and it is just killing the skin, stating you are only seeing large dead pieces of skin. The
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large parts of skin are known as eschars, which now leaves the user prone to amputation, other

complication, and infections. Marmur stated she was initially concerned that the drug could

make its way to the U.S. To some other doctors there is no concern over krokodil making it’s

way to over the U.S. Like Dr. Lewis Nelson, whom is a medical toxicologist at Bellevue

Hospital Center in New York, stated in the year of 2011 that he doubted krokodil would

eventually reach the United States because the availability of other drugs who are inexpensive

and more potent like black tar heroin and oxycontin. He also assured that “It’s not going to

become a club drug, I can guarantee you that.” So far I have not been able to find anymore cases

confirming more cases of the drug krokodil being involved.

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Works Cited

(1) Cannabis, Coca, & Poppy: Nature's Addictive Plants

(2) Just Think Twice

(3) List Of Opiates That Are Derived from the Opium Poppy

(4) What Is the Scope Of Heroin Use in the United States?

National Institute on Drug Abuse -

(5) Wise, Jacqui. “Heroin Deaths Increase by Two Thirds in Two Years, UK Figures
Show.” BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 351, 2015. JSTOR,

(6) Krokodil: The Most Terrifying Drug in the World

(7) Krokodil Information

(8) First Cases Of Flesh-eating Drug Krokodil Surface in Us