I've seen the reports, and have even covered the Coaxil and Krokodil epidemics in Russia on Opiated Shamanism. I know that Krokodil is synthesized using crushed codeine tablets combined with a number of readily available (even in the poorest and most remote regions of Russia) household chemicals, and that the end product is supposed to contain some quantity of desomorphine, which is 8x as strong as morphine but shorter acting.
Alas, I don't have any idea as to which household chemicals are used or what is done during the various stages of krokodil brewing. And I've noticed some interesting contradictions in the news coverage.
One Russian rehab doctor said that krokodil withdrawal lasts for over a month and is more painful than typical heroin withdrawal. Yet I was under the impression that short-acting opiates tend to have front-loaded withdrawals as opposed to i.e. methadone: the suffering up front is more intense, but the duration is shorter as the stuff leaves your body faster.
The reports suggest that iodine is one ingredient in the mix, and red phosphorus is another. I've heard bleach mentioned by some, and others have suggested lithium batteries may be used ala the "Birch/Nazi" synthesis of methamphetamine. (It's not clear if the lithium is used as a catalyst or if the batteries contain thionyl chloride). And if gasoline or paint thinner is involved, I'm guessing one of the steps requires a polar solvent. But as you can see, I'm no chemist: I'm sure there are other readers here who know far more than I.
I'm sure this stuff does horrible things to users, I'm also aware that I'm getting most of my reports from English translations of Russian articles -- not exactly the most reliable of sources. (Something similar appears to have happened with the reports of "Paco" and "Oxi" as "horrible deadly new designer drugs poisoning south America" -- so far as I can tell, it sounds like both are crudely refined coca paste, a drug which has been used in the region for a very long time indeed... )
If we had a rough idea of what was in a krokodil cook's toolkit, we'd have a better idea of what was going in a krokodil user's veins. One Georgian BLer mentioned seeing krokodil/coaxil users shooting up using 15-20ml syringes. 20ml of a solution of pill particles in suspension injected using a massive needle could explain a lot of the problems, like brain damage caused by microstrokes and rotting necrosis throughout the body. But I'd like to know what else is going on.
I don't need exact recipes: I'm aware of BL's rules about synth discussion. (And I'm not planning on trying any of these recipes, being as how I rather like my brain and my extremities). But any available information would be greatly appreciated.