“To Protect and Serve.” These days, the very idea seems like something of a pleasant anachronism…like steam cars or wind-up pocket watches. Like hybrids and cell phones, the modern law enforcement officer is efficient, well-developed and ostensibly germane to modern sensibilities. But somewhere along the line, between “efficiency” and “modernity,” these “refinements” have lost something crucial — call it “soul,” if you’d like. Sheriff Pat Kelly may be a bit of a Stanley Steamer among hybrids, but there’s no doubt that this anachronistic officer remembers what it means to have a soul.
Krokodil is an opiate-derived synthetic drug that comes from a place every bit as beautiful as the word “krokodil.” Born in the hopeless wasteland that is Russia, Krokodil is said by many to have been harvested directly from the toxic mammary ducts of Vladmir Putin himself. Alas, it’s nothing that exotic; Krokodil (aka “desomorphine“) is a mixture of codeine pain pills, gasoline, paint thinner, bathroom cleaner and red phosphorous from match heads. The base-alkaline reaction creates a substance that is 8 to 10 times stronger than the same amount of morphine, and can be taken in larger doses because it doesn’t trigger overdose as quickly.
It’s also far more addictive and lasts one quarter as long as morphine…and street-made versions often eat human flesh. That’s where it gets its name; the necrosis that follows injection turns the skin green and scaly, right before the limb rots off. Which victims might or might not mind, given the degree of brain damage incurred beforehand. Krokodil, which is incredibly cheap, is so close to being “zombie in a syringe” that many Russians believe it is was specifically engineered by Russia’s opium-trading enemies as a revenge weapon. Indeed, it wouldn’t be the first such instance of “narco-terrorism” from neighboring Afghanistan.
(Set some time aside to watch this.)
Perhaps it was inevitable that Krokodil would make its way to the poorest and most addicted in America, where codeine pills and the rest of the ingredients are as abundant as potential victims are under-educated. They’re a bit better educated now, though, thanks to Ohio Sheriff Kelly.
Kelly, ever the pragmatist, took an unusual and outstanding position on the presence of Krokodil in his community. He first became aware of its presence after the Athens County police confirmed that a woman had used the drug. She had apparently purchased Krokodil believing it was heroin, but found out otherwise when the skin at the injection site turned scaly and green. She did not seek medical treatment.
Kelly’s first act was to promise not to press charges against anyone who brought any quantity of Krokodil in the Sheriff’s office. It’s uncertain as of right now whether the Krokodil that the woman purchased was from a single batch, or the precursor of an epidemic to the area. But his message remained the same:
“We don’t want them selling this drug to anyone else. We want to get the stuff and get it tested. We are interested in helping the addict.“
The advice he offered next was certain to make the reptilian skin of officers in less fortunate areas crawl:
“I’m hoping they won’t use heroin it all, but I’m not that naïve. I know that they’re going to so, to say, ‘Get your heroin from a trusted source,’ sounds ridiculous coming from a sheriff. But I’m saying go to a trusted source, if you’re going to have to get your fix. You don’t want to get a hold of krokodil.”
Let’s hear it for Officer Kelly…a man who proves that even now, wearing a badge doesn’t have to mean selling your soul. Hopefully, law enforcement officials across the nation will follow his lead, as rumors and fears of Krokodil infiltration are rapidly (albeit quietly) spreading throughout the nation. Now, more than ever, we may need police and legislators willing to embrace that great anachronism of “protection and service.“
(A krokodil user from Russia. This is the least graphic picture we could find.)