A Dispatch from the Deep End

by lizard

So, a man set himself on fire on the national mall yesterday, and later died from the injuries he sustained. A week previous, an attempt at self-immolation was stopped outside a building housing offices for Exxon-Mobil in Houston, Texas.

The man who killed himself with fire was preceded by the woman who got herself eliminated by DC law enforcement after trying to breach White House security with her car. Luckily, her young child wasn’t collateral damage.

I’m glad not everyone is automatically cheering the heroes who neutralized this alleged threat. How much ink this story will get, though, remains to be seen.

All this comes on the heels of the Navy Yard Shooting, but that’s old news now, right? No sense lingering on another mass-casualty event. No sense pointing out how many red flags there were this poor guy was off the deep end. Let John Stewart extract a few awkward laughs, and then move on.

Michael Whitney can write another article about the true state of the US economy, but part of me wonders, why bother?

Instead, I bet readers will be more inclined to click on a link that explains why the zombie apocalypse may actually be upon us, because of a drug called krokodil. From the link:

Krokodil, a highly addictive designer drug that aggressively eats through flesh, has reportedly arrived in the United States. A Phoenix CBS affiliate revealed this week that two cases involving krokodil had been phoned into a local poison control center and quoted one of the center’s medical directors, Dr. Frank LoVecchio, saying he and his colleagues were “extremely frightened.” While the US Drug Enforcement Administration has not yet received a sample of the drug for analysis, and thus cannot confirm it was krokodil, Barbara Carreno of the DEA told Mother Jones that the agency often learns about new synthetic drugs (including the infamous bath salts) through local poison-control centers. “We’ve been scrambling to see what we know about the cases in Arizona,” she added. “This concerns us very much.”

Krokodil, technically known as Desomorphine, has a similar effect to heroin, but is significantly cheaper and easier to make. In the last few years, it’s been wreaking severe havoc on the bodies and lives of Russian youth. The drug earned its nickname—the Russian word for crocodile—because of the ghastly side effects it has on the human body. Wherever the drug is injected, the skin turns green and scaly, showing symptoms of gangrene. In severe cases, the skin rots away completely revealing the bone beneath. Other permanent effects of the drug include speech impediments and erratic movement. Rotting flesh, jerky movements, and speech troubles have prompted media outlets to tag krokodil the “zombie drug.” According to Time, the average user of krokodil only lives two or three years, and “the few who manage to quit usually come away disfigured.” Quitting is its own nasty business. Heroin withdrawal symptoms last about a week; symptoms for krokodil withdrawal can last over a month.

Substance abuse and economic recessions go hand in hand. In the 80’s, it was crack. In our new millennium, it’s whatever chemicals are affordable.

Last April Steve Bullock signed into law a bill that criminalizes new designer drugs, like “spice”. As of October 1st, selling Spice and Bath Salts is illegal in Montana. Who knows if the brutal murder in Dixon, Montana, would have happened if the perpetrator hadn’t been able to acquire and abuse the concoction of chemicals some company has made money selling.

Spice is cheap. I bet if you ask someone who smokes spice if they would prefer smoking some nice cannabis, they would say yes.

What isn’t cheap is treatment when addiction to any substance becomes unmanageable, and the most destructive substance, I would argue, is alcohol.

A classic choice for self-medication when the craziness of the world is too much.


  1. Those are some pretty gruesome pictures that come up when you type in krokodil.

    Sometimes you’ve just got to stick with what’s (relatively) safe, like the 3Bs: A beer, a bowl, and a babe.




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