Flesh-Eating Drug Hits Suburbs

A new drug that literally rots your flesh and bones has made its way to the nearby area.

The homemade substance Krokodil has caused its users to be hospitalized in Will County.

Three times more potent than Heroin, and cheaper too, at around $8 a hit, Krokodil eats away the body from the inside out, leaving muscles and tendons exposed.

“When you inject, it immediately starts destroying at wherever the end of the needle is and as that tissue starts to degrade and die,” said Dr. Abhin Single, Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine Physician at Presence Medical Center in Joliet. “Then it starts to spread upwards into the skin so the process starts almost immediately.

From there, the skin gains a hard, green scaly appearance, like the reptile Krocodil is named after. Over time, the effects can be so devastating that limbs may need to be amputated.

“Usually users only live 2 years because of the infections they get and the neurological damage that’s done,” said Dr. Single.

So far, four patients have sought treatment here at St Joseph Medical Center in Joliet after using the flesh-eating drug.

Three of them are Caucasian women in their 20’s, their arms and legs severely disfigured. One will face years of surgery to recovery her mobility.

Krokodil is homemade, using Codeine tablets mixed with gasoline, paint-thinner and other chemicals.

What may be more shocking: many don’t even know they’re using it. The latest user thought he was taking heroin but his dealer substituted it for Krokodil.

“A gentleman that we have in the hospital, his dealer was substituting it and he had no idea so we’re probably going to see more of that happening in Naperville and this area – not necessarily people saying ‘I want to go and try this new drug,’ but dealers substituting instead,” said Dr. Singla. He hopes that the graphic images of those who’ve succumbed to Krokodil’s destructive ways will deter folks not only from using the drug but also common precursors like heroin.

Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center will be sponsoring a number of seminars about Krokodil and drugs in general throughout Will and DuPage Counties, starting with an event on November first.

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