Chicago Sees First Cases Of Krokodil Infection
October 14, 2013

Multiple Cases Of Krokodil Infection Reported In Chicago Area

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The homemade, flesh-eating heroin knock-off krokodil, which originated in Russia before making its way to the US last month, has reportedly infected multiple people in one Chicago suburb.

According to Matt Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times, there had been at least three reported cases of people who had “symptoms consistent with krokodil abuse,” including “scaly skin, abscesses, lesions and gangrenous limbs,” at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois.

Dr. Abhin Singla, director of addiction services at the hospital, told Hamilton that one of the victims was a 25-year-old woman who had a long history of heroin abuse, and who said that she had switched over to krokodil approximately a month ago. He said that nearly 70 percent of her lower body had been affected by the flesh-eating substance, which is essentially a low-budget version of the drug desomorphine.

“Krokodil is cheap, potent, and highly addictive, but it was mostly thought to be a moonshine drug,” Adrianne Jeffries of The Verge explained. “The recipe is available on the internet, so desperate junkies can make it at home. However, five users in Joliet say they bought the drug thinking it was heroin for around $8 a hit. This suggests that the drug is now being sold in addition to being cooked at home, which could cause it to spread faster.”

Jeffries added that the substance, which is typically injected, is reportedly now available in capsule form as well. She said that two patients, both described as white, middle-class women, left Presence Saint Joseph against doctor’s orders for fear that they would be charged with possession of the substance. Two other patients, both male, checked into the hospital Thursday. Both men reportedly had lesions on the upper part of their arms.

Meanwhile, Fox News reporter Joshua Rhett Miller said that Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials remain skeptical that the substance has found its way to the US, despite reports of it in both Phoenix and the Chicago area. DEA spokesperson Dawn Dearden told Miller that no cases involving krokodil had been submitted to the agency, and that they were not actively investigating the alleged incidents in Arizona and Illinois.

Dr. Singla, however, seems to have little doubt that the substance that has affected the patients he has treated is indeed krokodil. “It is a horrific way to get sick” he told NBC Chicago. “The smell of rotten flesh permeates the room. Intensive treatment and skin grafts are required, but they often are not enough to save limbs or lives.”