It´s a well known fact that Berlin as a party capital and a free and liberal city is also firmly entrenched in the recreational drug scene. The daytime clubbing, 24 hour plus party rampages are not fuelled by energy drinks alone but unlike other cities, Berlin does not have as big a problem with the highly addictive heroin and crack or the destructive methampethamine epidemic that has such a menacing presence in cities and country towns across the US and Canada. There is no denying there are more than a few heroin addicts in the German capital but in comparision to other major European cities the number is not so alarmingly high.
Meth has recently started to move out of the small towns in the east of Germany to the club scene in Berlin. The bulk of meth production coming from Czech republic labs and across the invisible EU borders in a similiar way to the manufacture and distribution from Mexico to the US. Like the infamous hit series Breaking Bad these Czech towns housing meth kitchens are the New Mexico´s of Europe. You can be certain though, there are probably more than a few wannabe Heisenberg´s much closer to home, in Berlin´s suburbs Reickendorf, Schönefeld and towns in the Brandenburg area, cooking up more than a batch or two of the pure glass ice.
While meth is kinda new in Berlin, crack never really has had a market though heroin use on the other hand, has been prominent since the late 60´s and early 70´s. The cult film “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo“ put shock and fear into German citzens, bringing the smack epidemic out in the open for anyone who did not previously believe the rumours about Berlin´s seedy world of prostitution and drug abuse.
While the forementioned drugs are destructive and devastating to users, families and communities, none of them come close to the terrifying new designer drug known as “Crocodile”, which has recently surfaced on Berlin´s streets. This drug existing in poor Russian towns for the last few years is 3 times more powerful than heroin and one fifth the price. The side effects of Desomorphine (Crocodile) are literally straight out of a horror movie. The crocodile lives inside a users body for the duration of the 1 year life expectancy of hardcore users before shutting down organs and rotting the flesh away to the bones, making addicts appear zombie like, not only in the mind but also in the physical sense. Track marks of addicts turn into festering wounds with gaping one centimeter holes. Their skin turns a ghoulish green-gray colour forming scales – hence where the crocodile name comes from. The drug eats away at the body, leading to tissue damage, organ failure and finally a painful death.
Why would users poison themselves to death or even try this deadly drug ?
The problem is that when users are starved of their usual heroin supply or are unable to pay for the drug due to massive street price hikes after busts etc, will seek an alternative fix and after just a few tastes they are locked in the crocodile´s jaws. They are chained to this runaway train for fear of an almightly comedown or the cold turkey from hell that is far worse than what heroin does. A heroin addicts withdrawal lasts for five to 10 days but with “krokodil”, it can last up to a month and the pain is unbearable. Some addicts have had to be injected with strong tranquilisers just to stop them from passing out from the pain.
Another sinister aspect to this is that drug dealers are seeking greater profits through this horrifying epidemic. In Russia they pass off the drug as heroin to unsuspecting users. The product can not be distinguished from heroin by the naked eye and production of the drug is simple and extremely cheap. It´s a sickening and disturbing reciepe. Codeine tablets bought over the counter from pharmacies is the key ingredient. The rest of the mix is made up of substances such as iodine, lighter fluid, industrial cleaning oil, scraped match heads,heavy metals and even gasoline all thrown in.
Some users may or may not be aware of what they are taking but the horrific physical side effects and gray reptilian like appearances of fellow users, one would think would be enough to scare them senseless. Unfortuantely the drug is far more difficult for addicts to kick then heroin or meth.
As far as the glamour side of this drug, there is none. Junkies in Russia live in third world, shanty like squalor amidst crumbling asbestos laced ruins from the former Soviet union. Their dingy stinking apartments reeking of codeine from the hours spent cooking up their next hit. Their bodies and clothes carrying a disgusting odor that never leaves them. It is sheer hell for an addict and those who come into contact with them. Hospital workers at the Tiergarten charite in Berlin saw this firsthand when an Eastern European couple turned up in an absolutely apallying condition for treatment.
While the arrival of this drug in Germany and the capital city Berlin has authorities concerned. Reports of it´s use has not been at the epidemic level yet with only a few cases of people being hospitalized and needing treatment. Use of this drug is sporadic but a journalist friend of one of our guides has spoken to a few people recently who claim to be users. Hopefully we don´t see a Breaking Bad like sitcom or any Rock stars fanning the flame as this is one designer drug that aint hip or cool in the slightest, not that any drug is.