Earlier today, I posted about the crackdown on oxy in North America, which physicians and community leaders predicted would lead to public health problems—without seriously ramping up readily available drug treatment, you'd have a lot of people in withdrawal desperately looking for a way to cure it, some of them not too concerned about the consequences.
In Canada, where the oxy crackdown has been more severe, black-tar heroin seems to have made a comeback and both Canada and the US are beginning to see signs of krokodil, a dangerous distillation of codeine with gasoline, ammonia, and other substances that causes serious tissue necrosis and gangrene.
Different continent, in some ways different universe, but similar problem: scarcity of cleaner drugs, lack of available drug treatment, social stigma, and a prohibitionist legal and social attitude have cultivated an environment where the drugs keeps getting more dangerous and the harms—for individuals, families, and communities—keep getting more severe.
Dr. Grund warns journalists against hysteria and fear-mongering when it comes to krokodil. So, at the risk of mongering fear, allow me to repeat some of the harms reported in the paper (besides the usual risk of simply dying from overdose or blood poisoning): soft tissue infections to the bone, rotting gums resulting in tooth loss, bone infection, decayed structure of the jaw and other facial bones, neurological damage, speech impediments, veins that ulcer and rot away from the inside, and rotting ears and noses and lips, and more.
So, yes, being addicted to oxy or other opiates is not ideal. But the alternatives can be even worse.