Krokodil is the street name for desomorphine an opiate-like drug similar to and a substitute for heroin used by addicts. Krokodil or desomorphine began its history as a patented drug. US patent 1980972 was issued to chemist, Lyndon Frederick Small for a "Morphine Derivative and Processes" on November 13, 1934.
Krokodil actually has its beginnings here in the States. The skin-melting drug's reptilian moniker is in fact the street name for a highly impure form of a synthetic opioid known as desomorphine – a potent derivative of morphine that was first synthesized (and patented!) in the early 1930s, right here in the U.S. of A.
Originally discovered while searching for morphine substitutes, it was hoped that desomorphine – like methadone, which would be synthesized in Germany a few years later –could be used by patients without the risks of chemical dependence posed by analgesics like morphine.
Shortly after its discovery, desomorphine came to be used in Switzerland under the name of Permonid, where its effects were soon found to have a faster onset and shorter duration than those of morphine, while being several times more potent. Ironically, this made desomorphine a perfectly awful substitute for morphine; extreme potency, after all, combined with a short acting time, is a perfect combination for addiction.