Sisa And Krokodil: Horror And Despair In The Midst Of Austerity

Have you heard of Sisa?  It’s a drug fast gaining popularity in Greece that makes crystal meth look like a healthy lifestyle alternative.

A new and very cheap drug is killing Greek youth who no longer can see a future for themselves. Sisa is a form of crystal meth being mixed with filler ingredients such as battery acid and engine oil. It makes users violent and kills within six months. 

Ever since the austerity crisis has hit Greece, drug use and alcohol abuse have been rising sharply, as have suicides. The larger cities, and especially Athens, are filled with homeless and impoverished people who often seek to escape their misery by taking refuge in drug induced stupor. [ ]

Austerity and The War On Drugs Have A Devastating Synergetic Effect

The unemployment rate in Greece is at 27% overall with a staggering 60% unemployment rate for those below the age of 25.  Austerity is destroying the country on many fronts, and this drug Sisa, known for killing users within a span of months, often due to ulcers, is a symptom of a people without hope.

People are always going to use drugs, but in a crumbled economy and without hope on the horizon, more expensive drugs like heroin and crystal meth are replaced by cheaper and far more toxic substitutes.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.  In destitute parts of Russia and the Ukraine a highly corrosive opioid based substance called Krokodil has become a drug of choice to replace heroin.  As Sisa is a cheaper more toxic version of crystal meth, Krokodil is a cheaper more toxic version of heroin.  It’s codeine based mixed with disturbing ingredients such as, but not limited to, gasoline, iodine, red phosphorous, and hydrochloric acid.

The below video is terrifying.  It’s in Russian, but whether you understand the words or not matters little.  The visuals are real and not exaggerated, and will give you an idea of what these cheap disastrous alternate highs are capable of.

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When you combine austerity and the war on drugs you get people without money or hope trying to escape their reality with little to no foresight.  The drugs on the street become nightmarish, and people, young and old, with families or without, with promising futures or mundane aspirations, can all fall into a despairing addiction that has gruesome and fatal consequences.

When things get this bad there’s no easy answers.  I can only propose two solutions; one short term, one long.  And I do so without jest.

Are There Any Solutions To Sisa and Krokodil?

Sisa and Krokodil
Sisa and Krokodil serve as cheaper substitutes for meth and heroin, but are even far more corrosive and deadly.

The first, and short term solution is to legalize cannabis in these countries and make sure it’s growing like wildfire.  While the effects aren’t the same as Sisa or Krokodil, these addicts, I can only imagine, do not want to be slaves to these literally corrosive drugs, but at the same time it’s near impossible for them to find adequate treatment in such a despairing economy to get free of them.  I can only hope that cannabis, a panacea compared to these substances, can act as an alternative for those not already entrenched in these harder substances, and for those that are, a means to dull the pain of withdrawal while providing a high that is far less destructive to themselves and society.

It would not hurt either to ensure that addicts of these drugs are able to purchase codeine at low prices at local pharmacies while they transition off these drugs.  Sisa and Krokodil are a horror show.  Users are often emitted to emergency rooms with bloated stomachs full of puss, and with Sisa, it is not uncommon for psychotic rages resulting in murders to be the fallout of the addiction.

The second and most important solution is for the governments to grow their economies by forsaking austerity in favor of actually giving a damn about caring for their people first.  In countries like Greece and in many parts of Russia and the Ukraine this won’t be easy.  I can’t spell out a ten point plan in this article as to how that can happen, but we know austerity isn’t working, and we know the psychological effects of such high unemployment rates among young people.  We’re seeing the despair play out before our eyes in violent riots and from the rise of these malignant substances.

Requisite Steps For The US To Avoid The Same Fate

This should be a warning for the US.  There are bridges collapsing and roads to be built.  I have more insight as to how the US can avoid this type of collapse than I do into how Greece and Russia can fix their ills.  Get rid of the bush tax cuts.  End Citizens United.  Stop the foreign wars and lower the massive ‘defense’ spending, and raise effective tax rates on global corporations sucking the wealth out of the US.

Put that money into education and the rebuilding of infrastructure; and while we’re at it, let’s just legalize cannabis and tax the hell out of it.  That’ll create a whole lot more jobs as well as sizable tax revenue streams to the Government.  Oh yeah, and as usual, double, no triple, NASA’s budget.  That’ll get the science and engineering sectors back into gear.

A little common sense and compassion can make this a better world, and it wouldn’t be all that hard.  In fact it would be a hell of a lot easier than the path we’re on.


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