Desomorphine is a synthetically derived morphine isomer, originally derived during the search for morphine substitutes. At the beginning of the 20th century, U.S. scientists attempted to derive new morphine-based medicines with a strong analgesic effect that do not cause chemical dependence. As a result, scientists settled on several pharmacologically active substances, of which desomorphine and methadone were the most promising. Desomorphine first appeared on the Russian market in 2003. The main reason for desomorphine’s appearance and spread is the simplicity and accessibility of its preparation. Due to the relatively cheap, quick, and very crude preparation equipment needed, the drug is fairly inexpensive and derived from a haphazard mix of codeine-based medications and household chemicals.
Desomorphine users suffer from an acute deterioration in their general health, including a weakened immune system and failing liver. Their circulation is so compromised that their limbs gradually wither and die. Non-healing ulcers appear on the body and a person literally rots. Veins located near the injection sites "burn up." Those addicted to desomorphine do not survive for more than a year (for comparison: even heroin addicts have a survival rate of up to five years).