Krokodil: Russia's Deadliest Drug (NSFW) [w/ subs]

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00:00:00
00:00:12 – [MUSIC PLAYING]
00:00:16 – MALE SPEAKER 1: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:00:18
00:00:32
00:00:44 – [SOVIET ANTHEM PLAYING]
00:00:55 – ALISON SEVERS: In 1979, the Soviet army entered
00:00:58 – Afghanistan, engaging in a brutal 10-year conflict which
00:01:02 – kick-started the Afghan opium trade.
00:01:05 – It was sold all over the world to help fund the fight against
00:01:07 – the Soviets, but the main customers of the opium were
00:01:10 – the Russians themselves.
00:01:13 – After the fall of the Soviet union in 1991, Russia's heroin
00:01:17 – problem continued to grow.
00:01:19 – So much so, that in 2011, the country has become the world's
00:01:23 – biggest consumer of heroin.
00:01:24 – [MUSIC CONTINUES]
00:01:30 – ALISON SEVERS: With a southern border more than 4,000 miles
00:01:33 – long, we're talking about a patrol area greater than the
00:01:36 – distance from New York to London.
00:01:38 – It's no wonder the drug trade is out of control.
00:01:42 – We travelled to the small Siberian city of Novokuznetsk,
00:01:45 – which lies just over the Russian border with
00:01:47 – Kazakhstan, and is on the front line
00:01:49 – of this heroin epidemic.
00:01:51 – Once a Siberian industrial powerhouse, now this city has
00:01:55 – fallen into decline, with 20% of its population allegedly
00:01:59 – addicted to heroin.
00:02:01 – We'd heard stories about ex-addicts building coffins to
00:02:04 – bury their friends, and religious cults disguised as
00:02:06 – rehab clinics.
00:02:09 – Worst of all though were rumors of a new moonshine drug
00:02:11 – called krokodil that has some terrifying consequences.
00:02:16 – Nowhere are Russia's drug problems more
00:02:18 – evident than here.
00:02:19
00:02:27 – We've come to an area where there's a lot of derelict
00:02:29 – building that are being squatted by addicts as a place
00:02:32 – to use and to live.
00:02:37 – Everywhere I look around me, there are syringes.
00:02:40 – There's more syringes here than I've ever seen in my
00:02:43 – entire life.
00:02:45 – MALE SPEAKER 2: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:02:46
00:03:00 – ALISON SEVERS: Why are you hanging out here?
00:03:02 – MALE SPEAKER 2: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:03:03
00:03:36 – ALISON SEVERS: This area is called Zavodskoy and was once
00:03:38 – the purpose-built housing estates
00:03:40 – of the Soviet workforce.
00:03:42 – Now, these imposing tower blocks are just empty shells.
00:03:46 – These young men have been living in this abandoned
00:03:48 – building for two months.
00:03:50 – MALE SPEAKER 3: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:03:51
00:04:15 – MALE SPEAKER 4: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:17 – MALE SPEAKER 5: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:19 – MALE SPEAKER 4: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:21
00:04:24 – MALE SPEAKER 5: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:26 – MALE SPEAKER 4: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:28
00:04:32 – MALE SPEAKERS: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:33
00:04:42 – MALE SPEAKER 3: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:43
00:04:49 – MALE SPEAKERS: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:04:51
00:04:59 – MALE SPEAKER 3: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:05:00
00:05:20 – MALE SPEAKER 4: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:05:26 – MALE SPEAKER 3: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:05:28 – MALE SPEAKER 4: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:05:29 – MALE INTERVIEWER: When was the last time you went to see a
00:05:31 – doctor or a hospital?
00:05:32 – MALE SPEAKER 3: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:05:34
00:05:40 – MALE SPEAKER 6: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:05:44 – MALE SPEAKER 3: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:05:45
00:05:54 – [MUSIC PLAYING]
00:06:16 – ALISON SEVERS: Sasha Pelikhov works for an organization
00:06:18 – called Regenerate Russia, which helps rehabilitate
00:06:20 – heroin addicts in Novokuznetsk.
00:06:21
00:06:25 – Sasha explained to us that there might be more to the
00:06:27 – drug trade than just making money.
00:06:29 – SASHA PELIKHOV: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:06:30
00:06:57 – ALISON SEVERS: There's a widely held belief that a
00:06:59 – phenomenon called narcoterrorism
00:07:01 – fuels the drug trade.
00:07:02 – It's said that Afghan terror groups help expediate the
00:07:05 – supply of heroin to Russia in order to both profit from
00:07:08 – their former invaders and also weaken the population by
00:07:11 – poisoning them with heroin.
00:07:14 – This is what's known as the Golden Crescent.
00:07:16 – It's the route that heroin takes from northern
00:07:18 – Afghanistan, throughout Central Asia, and into Russia.
00:07:23 – Sasha told us that the center of the local trade was at the
00:07:26 – food markets just outside the city center.
00:07:28 – It's where trucks from Kazakhstan are offloaded with
00:07:31 – heroin for distribution around Novokuznetsk
00:07:33 – and the wider areas.
00:07:36 – We were told to approach this place with extreme caution,
00:07:39 – and not to get out of the car.
00:07:40
00:07:45 – As we drove slowly through the market, we noticed gangs of
00:07:47 – men doing business next to their trucks.
00:07:50 – Many of them bore Kazakhstan license plates.
00:07:53 – It didn't take long to get us noticed.
00:07:55 – All of a sudden, someone spotted our cameras, and
00:07:58 – people started beeping their horns and yelling.
00:08:01 – MALE SPEAKER 7: Why are people beeping?
00:08:03 – MALE SPEAKER 7: Yeah, everyone's
00:08:03 – checking us out now.
00:08:05 – MALE SPEAKER 8: Yeah, let's just get the f*** out.
00:08:06 – MALE SPEAKER 7: Let's get the f*** out of there.
00:08:10 – Let's go.
00:08:10 – Let's go.
00:08:11 – Let's go.
00:08:12
00:08:14 – ALISON SEVERS: There's two pretty snazzy cars behind us.
00:08:17 – Those are the first snazzy cars I've seen
00:08:18 – since we've been here.
00:08:19 – Probably going to follow us and kill us now.
00:08:22 – The vans have got along the right-hand side of the number
00:08:25 – plate, had KZ, which means, obviously, the cars have been
00:08:27 – trucked in from Kazakhstan.
00:08:29 – MALE SPEAKER 9: It doesn't mean Kool Zines?
00:08:30 – ALISON SEVERS: No.
00:08:31 – It doesn't mean kool zines.
00:08:32 – It means f****** naughty heroin trafficker from
00:08:34 – Kazakhstan.
00:08:35 – That's what it f****** means.
00:08:37 – Well, there's still a car that looks the same.
00:08:39 – Or maybe all the cars just look the same.
00:08:42 – OK.
00:08:43
00:08:47 – We lost the cars and headed back to meet Sasha somewhere
00:08:49 – safe, or so we thought.
00:08:53 – MALE SPEAKER 10: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:08:54
00:09:20 – ALISON SEVERS: It kind of just feels like walking into a
00:09:22 – forest in the middle of Siberia, plus a lot of very
00:09:27 – angry dogs.
00:09:28 – That one actually did that whole, like, err, I'm going to
00:09:31 – f****** kill you thing.
00:09:32
00:09:37 – After about five minutes of walking through Vorstadt, we
00:09:40 – met this guy.
00:09:41 – Sasha told us he was salvaging scrap metal, which is the most
00:09:44 – common way for heroin users to fund their addiction.
00:09:47 – MALE SPEAKER 11: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:09:48
00:09:52 – [MUSIC PLAYING]
00:10:01 – MALE SPEAKER 11: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:10:05 – [DOG GROWLING AND BARKING]
00:10:22 – MALE SPEAKER 9: What is it?
00:10:24 – ALISON SEVERS: Because I can't see where the syringes are.
00:10:26 – They're f****** everywhere.
00:10:27
00:10:29 – Opposite the rehabilitation center, there's just a
00:10:35 – deserted building where there's syringes all over the
00:10:38 – floor, and, like, empty bottles of this stuff.
00:10:42 – ALISON SEVERS: What's this?
00:10:43 – Sasha.
00:10:45 – MALE SPEAKER 12: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:10:46 – SASHA PELIKHOV: What is in Tropikamid?
00:10:48 – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:10:49
00:11:18 – ALISON SEVERS: Sasha explained that the eyedrops were one of
00:11:20 – the main ingredients of a new drug called krokodil, a kind
00:11:23 – of moonshine heroin.
00:11:26 – Krokodil is so called because it turns the user's skin scaly
00:11:30 – and eats them from the inside out.
00:11:31 – SASHA PELIKHOV: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:11:33
00:12:06 – ALISON SEVERS: That woman walked past us earlier when we
00:12:08 – were on our way out to the brothel.
00:12:09 – And Sasha told me the she's on the road, which mean she's a
00:12:12 – working prostitute.
00:12:12 – She's just walked past now.
00:12:14 – She's met up with a guy, and she's going to go have s**
00:12:16 – with him down there.
00:12:18 – Brilliant.
00:12:18 – That's completely depressing.
00:12:21 – F****** h***.
00:12:23 – With high volumes of drug addicts comes high volumes of
00:12:25 – prostitution.
00:12:27 – And Novokuznetsk is no exception.
00:12:29 – What was worrying here was how young the girls were.
00:12:32 – So over there, I can see two girls.
00:12:36 – One of them looks about 14, and they've been talking to a
00:12:40 – succession of men who are stopping in cars at the side
00:12:45 – of the street.
00:12:48 – And in fact there's so much going on here with crime and
00:12:55 – drug use, you'd expect to see police cars and ambulances,
00:12:57 – but I haven't seen any of them.
00:12:59 – [MUSIC PLAYING]
00:13:17 – NATASHA: [SINGING IN RUSSIAN]
00:13:18
00:13:28 – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:13:30
00:13:50 – ALISON SEVERS: The Russian government offers very little
00:13:51 – support for addicts.
00:13:53 – There are no local state-funded rehab centers,
00:13:56 – and so the void has been filled by private
00:13:58 – organizations.
00:13:59 – They range from centers like this one, where the addicts
00:14:01 – provide volunteer work to pay for their treatment, to
00:14:04 – evangelical churches that have been accused of
00:14:06 – running like cults.
00:14:07
00:14:10 – OLEYSA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:14:11
00:14:30 – ALISON SEVERS: I heard a lot of people died.
00:14:34 – OLEYSA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:14:35
00:14:42 – NATASHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:14:43
00:14:47 – ALISON SEVERS: Oh.
00:14:47 – NATASHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:14:49
00:15:16 – ALISON SEVERS: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:15:17 – NATASHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:15:19
00:15:23 – [CHOIR SINGING]
00:15:32 – ALISON SEVERS: After we left the girls, we went to visit
00:15:34 – the priest of the main orthodox church in
00:15:36 – Novokuznetsk.
00:15:37
00:15:39 – I had to wear a head scarf in order to be
00:15:41 – able to talk to him.
00:15:44 – Spasibo.
00:15:45
00:15:52 – MINISTER VASILY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:15:53
00:16:20 – ALISON SEVERS: So this is the bit that we bought in the shop
00:16:23 – in your church.
00:16:24 – And it says, Christian sects, how they're servants of the
00:16:27 – anti-Christ.
00:16:28 – Is this relevant in this city?
00:16:31 – MINISTER VASILY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:16:32
00:17:17 – YEVGENY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:17:18
00:17:37 – ALISON SEVERS: This is Yevgeny.
00:17:38 – By day, he's a funeral director, and by night, he run
00:17:41 – the Novokuznetsk branch of Teen Challenge, which is an
00:17:44 – American Christian charity that now has missionaries and
00:17:47 – centers in over 70 countries around the world, and it's
00:17:50 – growing rapidly.
00:17:52 – He told us to come along to meet his congregation in a
00:17:55 – remote part of the city which was an hour drive up a very
00:17:58 – steep hill.
00:17:59 – And when we arrived, we found this.
00:18:01 – [RUSSIAN ROCK MUSIC PLAYING]
00:18:05 – ALISON SEVERS: This is the sleeping room for the
00:18:08 – brotherhood here at Teen Challenge, which is Yevgeny's
00:18:12 – church group
00:18:13 – [SINGING IN RUSSIAN[
00:18:23 – ALISON SEVERS: This is a rehabilitation center for
00:18:25 – people involved in Teen Challenge, which is an
00:18:30 – American church that's come to Russia.
00:18:34 – And now Yevgeny practices their doctrine.
00:18:37
00:18:42 – I think that Teen Challenge is a cult, to be honest.
00:18:46 – MALE SPEAKER 13: Today, I live here six months.
00:18:50 – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
00:18:55 – Jesus Christ help me.
00:18:59
00:19:02 – [SINGING CONTINUES]
00:19:11 – MINISTER VASILY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:19:12
00:19:23 – [SINGING CONTINUES]
00:19:37 – [APPLAUSE]
00:19:38 – WORSHIP LEADER: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:19:40
00:19:44 – ALISON SEVERS: This is Sergey.
00:19:45 – We met him begging outside on the street, and he said most
00:19:48 – of the people he knew have been affected
00:19:49 – by heroin and krokodil.
00:19:51 – SERGEY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:19:52
00:20:17 – SEREZHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:20:18
00:20:47 – ALISON SEVERS: Later that night, Sergey took us on a
00:20:49 – tour of local pharmacies to show us how easy it is to pick
00:20:52 – up the ingredients for krokodil.
00:20:54 – So these are 24-hour pharmacies
00:20:55 – that we're going to.
00:20:57 – You can do this any time of the day.
00:21:01 – SERGEY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:21:02
00:21:43 – ALISON SEVERS: Sergey said he knew someone who could cook
00:21:45 – the krokodil for us.
00:21:47 – He promised to meet us again.
00:21:49 – That was the last time we saw him.
00:21:50
00:21:55 – ALEXEY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:21:57
00:22:09 – ALISON SEVERS: Alexey is the pastor of an independent
00:22:10 – church that reforms heroin and krokodil addicts.
00:22:14 – ALEXEY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:22:15
00:22:27 – ALISON SEVERS: Alexey took us to meet his friend, whose
00:22:29 – family has been destroyed by krokodil.
00:22:31 – With a drug that can kill it users so quickly, it's very
00:22:35 – rare to meet survivors.
00:22:38 – LYUDMILA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:22:39
00:23:13 – MISHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:23:15 – SERGEY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:23:19 – ALISON SEVERS: And you been taking krokodil?
00:23:22 – SERGEY: We have, yeah.
00:23:25 – MISHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:23:26
00:23:32 – ALISON SEVERS: When did you start taking it?
00:23:35 – MISHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:23:36
00:23:49 – SERGEY: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:23:51 – MISHA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:23:53
00:23:57 – LYUDMILA: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]
00:23:59
00:24:16 – ALISON SEVERS: I felt quite helpless leaving Lyudmila's
00:24:18 – house, but nowhere near as helpless as she must feel.
00:24:22 – Her health, home, and family life have been totally
00:24:25 – destroyed by krokodil, a drug you can just work out how to
00:24:29 – make with the help of internet forums.
00:24:32 – President Medvedev has talked about closing down the
00:24:34 – websites that are providing this information, but the
00:24:37 – internet seems harder to police than the border.
00:24:40 – I can't see any way out for these people if they're
00:24:42 – relying on that.
00:24:45 – Drug users are developing new, terrifying ways of consuming
00:24:48 – opiates faster than the government can decide on any
00:24:51 – form of policy.
00:24:52 – The church and the sects aren't the answer, but sadly,
00:24:55 – they seem to be the best hope these young people have in a
00:24:59 – city that really does feel like it's been forgotten.
00:25:01

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