Krokodil is three time more potent and a tenth the price of heroin, BuzzFeed said, making Russian youths susceptible to trying it. Its use has spread rapidly.
Krokodil (crocodile) is a desomorphine, a synthetic opiate that is created from a complex chain of mixing and chemical reactions, which addicts will perform numerous times a day to get high, The Independent reported.
It's a drug for the poor that is a mixture of codeine-based "headache" pills and other cheap household ingredients like gasoline, paint thinner, iodine, hydrochloric acid and red phosphorus, Fox News reported.
"Crocodile" gets its reptilian name because the toxic ingredients in the drug make user's skin turn scaly, but that's only the beginning. After longer use, addicts will develop rotting sores.
"If you miss the vein, that's an abscess straight away," said Sasha, a krokodil user who spoke to The Independent. "She won't go to hospital, she just keeps injecting. Her flesh is falling off and she can hardly move anymore," Sasha said of another user, Oleg.
Sasha and Oleg's last names were not given in the Independent's article, and the paper noted that some names had been changed.
Pictures of krokodil in late-stage addicts are extremely disturbing. The flesh on their skin has become grey and peeled, some people's bones are even showing -- people are literally rotting to death.
(Click here to see the sad, graphic pictures)
Russian heroin addicts learned how to concoct krokodil about four years ago, according to the Independent.
"Over the past five years, sales of codeine-based tablets have grown by dozens of times," said Viktor Ivanov, head of Russia's Drug Control Agency. "It's pretty obvious that it's not because everyone has suddenly developed headaches."
Though the drug is reportedly an epidemic in Russia, it has not yet been seen in the U.S.
"We're looking at it overseas, but we have not seen it yet in the U.S.," DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told FoxNews.com. "But we would not be surprised when that day comes."
Nearly 65 million doses of krokodil have been seized in the last three years, Russia's Federal Drug Control Service told Time.
Bath salts and K2 are other newly rampant drugs that have been associated with turning people into "zombies" since some users have gone psychotic, attacked other humans or animals and torn at them with their teeth, seemingly ingesting their flesh. But krokodil is different; krokodil is the drug that "eats junkies."
Addicts would prefer heroin, but use krokodil because it's much cheaper and easier to find.
"You can feel how disgusting it is when you're doing it," Zhenya, a former user, told the Independent. "You're dreaming of heroin, of something that feels clean and not like poison. But you can't afford it, so you keep doing the krokodil. Until you die."