Monday, February 17, 2014

The Drug that 'Eats Junkies'

*Post contains graphic imagery

Krokodil, or crocodile, is Russia's deadliest designer drug. The average user of krokodil, a dirty cousin of morphine that's spreading like a virus among Russian youth, does not live longer than two or three years, and the few who manage to quit usually come away badly disfigured.
The active component is codeine, a widely sold over-the-counter painkiller that is not toxic on its own. But to produce krokodil, whose medical name is desomorphine, addicts mix it with ingredients including gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous, which they scrape from the striking pads on matchboxes. The high lasts about an hour and a half, and it takes about an hour to cook it. It is around 8-10 times more potent than morphine.
In 2010, between a few hundred thousand and a million people, according to various official estimates, were injecting the resulting substance into their veins in Russia. It is so far the only country in the world to see the drug grow into an epidemic, primarily due to the difficulties users have in procuring heroin. Predictably, it has spread the fastest in the poorest and most remote parts of the country, like Vorkuta.
Pavlova, an ex-user remarks, ''The winters there last eight months of the year and the young people are in a constant state of boredom. Most of them drink and few of them work, the same as in hundreds of towns and villages across Russia's frozen north. Besides her, Pavlova says there were about a dozen krokodil addicts she hung around with, including her brother. "Practically all of them are dead now," she says. "For some it led to pneumonia, some got blood poisoning, some had an artery burst in their heart, some got meningitis, others simply rot."
The "rotting" explains the drug's nickname. At the injection site, which can be anywhere from the feet to the forehead, the addict's skin becomes greenish and scaly, like a crocodile's, as blood vessels burst and the surrounding tissue dies. Gangrene and amputations are a common result, while porous bone tissue, especially in the lower jaw, often starts to dissipate, eaten up by the drug's acidity.
As the number of users continues to rise, despite the widely known symptoms, the Russian government is struggling to get the situation under control.

Just like Xylazine in Puerto Rico, Russia's own private drug hell is gaining momentum with the latest in a new strain of illegal narcotics.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Crystal Blue Persuasion

Illicit use of Methamphetamine began in the United States in the 1960’s. During that time clandestine labs began the production of speed, commonly known then as ''crank,'' and distribution began to spread throughout the United States via motorcycle gangs. Bikers who made their own meth used to call it crank because they hid the drug in the crank cases of their motorcycle engines.

Clandestine Chemistry 
In the 1980's, common cold medicines such as pseudoephedrine (hydrochloride), and Sudafed (the common nasal decongestant), were becoming increasingly popular on the shelves in pharmacies. The medication dried up sinuses and provided a jolt of energy. Before long, drug dealers found a way to transform the medicine into meth.

Crank isn't as clean or pure. This powdered meth is often cut with something else making it much less pure and thus less effective. The user has to ingest much more for the same effect crystal methamphetamine would give them. 
By the late 1990's it seemed that meth was being cooked up everywhere and in two years 35,000 meth labs were busted in the United States. Today, medicines such as ephedrine tablets now require prescriptions. While homemade productions in the U.S. have significantly dropped, the supply has not.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Michelangelo Phenomenon

''Wait, I said IDEAL-self !!'

This is a pattern of relationship interdependence, in which close partners influence each other's dispositions, values, and behavioural patterns in such a manner as to bring both people closer to their ideal-selves. It suggests that close partners 'sculpt' one another's selves, shaping one another's skills and traits and promoting versus inhibiting one another's goal pursuits.

The concept was introduced by the US psychologist Stephen Michael Drigotas and several collaborators in an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1999, reporting the results of four experiments designed to elucidate the phenomenon.

Unsurprisingly, it is named after the Italian sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 - 1564) who is said to have conceived of some sculptures as a process of bringing out figures already hidden in stone - by chipping away at the excess.

''I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free''   ~ Michelangelo