The World’s Most Horrifying Drug Is Already Spreading Rapidly Across the United States

Russia's "krokodil" drug has shown up in Utah and Arizona and has now made its way to Chicago.

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UIG via Getty Images

A flesh-eating drug popularized in Russia has surfaced in a Chicago suburb and has doctors scrambling to address it before it worsens the area’s already alarming heroin epidemic.

Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Ill., has treated three patients for use of the heroin-substitute called “krokodil.” The drug is chemically similar to morphine and has some properties as methamphetamine, WMAQ-TV reported. But it’s more potent than heroin, cheaper to get than meth and easier to manufacture, using crude products like crushed codeine tablets, iodine and lighter fluids. Oh, and did we mention it will eat the flesh right off of your bones?

A hit of krokodil costs about $8 in the streets, while users pay $25 or $30 for heroin.

“It is a horrific way to get sick,” Dr. Abhin Singla of Presence St. Joseph told WMAQ. “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.”

[More: The World’s Most Horrifying Drug Comes to the U.S.]

From the Russian word for “crocodile,” the drug, which is injected, causes flesh to rot away through gangrene and abscesses on the skin, which slowly turns green. In some cases bones and muscle are visible. The exposed flesh makes victims vulnerable to possibly lethal infections.

The victims have significant damage to their skin from gangrene and in the case of one Chicago victim, it will take years of surgeries for her to walk again, Singla said.

Singla told the Chicago Sun-Times that he spoke with federal officials about the incursion of krokodil this week. Cases of the drug had already been reported in Arizona and Utah and he suspects a market may have already been created in Chicagoland.

“Will County’s already burgeoning heroin epidemic may have created a tolerance level to the point where users are now looking for cheaper and better highs,” he said.

[WMAQ]

[Chicago Sun-Times]

MORE:  Chicago Area Fighting Surge in Heroin Use

83 comments
Haeley
Haeley

Considering codeine is prescription in the US and we still have a pretty good supply of cheap heroin I dont think this drug will really become as big of a problem here as in Russia

andrewi31
andrewi31

You scum believe ANYTHING you read.  NO VERFIED CASES of krokodil deaths in America.  To call it an epidemic is a sick lie. The potential for this to spread in America is unbelievably low considering Codeine is only available by prescription and cheap heroin or prescription narcotics are widely available.  So get off your Oxycontin and wake up you American morons. 60,000,000 addicts in the US - none of them are on freaking крокодил.  There are very few differences between the US and Russia, but this is one of them.  

BungleX
BungleX

Wow so many people who dislike drug users/addicts. I wonder these ppl say "just let em die"  when someone dies OD on alcohol or being drunk and walking in front of car. The commenter that thinks only dumb ppl take dangerous drugs im sorry but intelligence has nothing to do with it. Education helps prevent ONLY if its not over exaggerated or kids realise and don't trust anything their told. Lots of heroin addicts start with a back injury for eg and are on morphine so long they get bad addiction, end up on heroin and then could easily end up on krokodil. Withdrawal from heroin is the most painful thing I ever experienced after 4 years straight not missing a day.I never dropped, I took care of my health, I did not resort to breaking my morals to support habit. But even with that control the only reason I got clean was a country wide drought in 2001. I have an approx IQ 142 (mensa testing) Im not a criminal or untrustworthy.
I am who these synthetic drugs destroy and I am your neighbours, brothers and friends

stantonium
stantonium

This is a big exaggeration. The Chicago case was never verified. Regular heroin is cheaper.

BenHa
BenHa

Bad for next generation@Linda Lee . Put dealers behind bars for good Please.!!??

MihalixBenko
MihalixBenko

I'm not a wingnut, but I do believe this is simply natural selection. I heard about this crap about a year ago, Vice had an insightful documentary about it. If you are dumb enough to take this crap, well I'm sorry maybe you deserve a Darwin award and a farewell, no point in spending years and tons of money in turning you back into a functional person.  

SoniaYancey
SoniaYancey

Sounds like a form of population control,..less voters..

JamesHayes
JamesHayes

i say something like this is the cure to rid the world of a generation of heroine infested addicts. It should be named the pied piper because its calling all the rats home to oblivion. The best part they are doing it to themselves knowing the outcome, I think they want out too. 

hurrrrrrr
hurrrrrrr

Having a Krokodil party this weekend at my place, anyone down? We're doing shots of battery acid on the side.

BrianHard
BrianHard

just last week the first suspected case came in to an er in columbus ohio. i can remember reading about this on the internet several years ago (courtesy of vice). it was only a matter of time...

swagger
swagger

we seem to have a large number of prospects for darwin awards.

BradMulcahy
BradMulcahy

It's cheaper than Heroin? Hello!!! Heroin is ten bucks a pill, and one pill will get someone well for 12 hours, do we really need a less expensive version of an already cheap drug? 

DougCheriBledsoe
DougCheriBledsoe

Probably when they hit the vein clean there is little localized reaction. Its when they miss the vein and put a mass of this poison under the skin and that areas die. That forms some of the most horrendous wounds. Just to get a fix.

DougCheriBledsoe
DougCheriBledsoe

This crap is what a true opiate junkie will turn to when they get dope sick. A junkie will shoot anything.

ChristieLey
ChristieLey

It is truly horrific how any human being could create something like this, knowing what it will do to people.

leims46
leims46

Sweet Jesus!  So a "krokodil" user can witness one's own rotten flesh slowly deteriorate?  Gasp! 

jsbdginc
jsbdginc

I need some bad... hook me up with some f'n krok man. I need it 


just_some_guy
just_some_guy

Clearly the writer has never of ethanol. A drug so dangerous that the Constitution of the United States of America was amended to prevent access to the general public. A drug that is part of so many deaths in this country that it is usually not seen as newsworthy except by individuals close to those who are killed.

Then there is THC, found in marijuana. Which causes millions to be incarcerated, costs billions of dollars in taxpayer revenue for enforcement of the laws prohibiting use, sales, and possession.  The USA regulates THC more aggressively than Phenobarbital, Raw Opium and Cocaine.

Krokodil may currently be in vogue as a media novelty, but it is in no way, shape, or form, the most horrifying drug in the world.

tonykeywest
tonykeywest

Thank God for another way to punish this wicked nation for its sins

bleezy419
bleezy419

in soviet russia drug does you. 

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

I'm just wondering how long before a democrat in Seattle or Sacramento suggests legalization as a way of dealing with the problem.

Pirate-BirdieOf-theHavel
Pirate-BirdieOf-theHavel

Interesting comments. Addict haters and addict enablers. Having had addicts in my family, I tend to be pretty hard about the whole thing. Yes, it is INCREDIBLY sad and what this drug does to you is insane. Google the pics. I did. They don't even look real. 

In the end, you make a choice to do drugs. Some of us make it, and some of us don't. I think if you are so far gone that you use this stuff, then doctors shouldn't go to heroic measures to save your life. I think using this drug should put you into palliative care area. Do you honestly think that a brush with Krokodil will make someone get clean? We are talking about  drug where, once you start using it, you have a 2-3 year life span. So how much will we spend trying to save someone who clearly doesn't want to be saved? Resources that could be used for people who dearly want to live? Maybe this is social Darwinism, but that is how I feel. 

Panda312
Panda312

The article also failed to mention that the "flesh-eating" isn't cause by the drug.  It is caused by the by-products and residue leftover from clandestine production.  The cost to society: medical support for limb amputations, skin and bone grafts, and a black market void of rules, taxes, and oversight.  This drug is called desomorphine.  It isn't some rabid flesh-eating drug without the black market supporting it.

jaroughan
jaroughan

most of you have no idea why a flesh eating drug is appealing.....It is not. The addiction associated, however, is a mental disease that is uncontrollable.  I beg you to learn about the disease before you make judgement. 

joeydunne
joeydunne

I've done this! Very amazing high!

WakeUpUSA
WakeUpUSA

@Haeley  you are soooo innocent. Kids are drinking codeine by the gallon in this country, young ones too-that is the "purple drank" and other such terms-they mix it with purple Kool-aid or gatorade and call it sippin' -go google it, its way out of control- codeine is one of the most popular liver killing highs currently raging the nation. The rap industry has promoted this heavily- that little cup o drank all those lyrics refer to drinking  codeine. WAKE UP HAELEY

tinano
tinano

@JamesHayes yeah except they are all on title 19 - so when their flesh starts decaying and they go to the hospital it costs us big $.  

hurrrrrrr
hurrrrrrr

@BradMulcahy There's a big difference between what you are talking about and black tar heroin.

MihalixBenko
MihalixBenko

@DougCheriBledsoe the drug eventually corrodes both internal organs (mostly the circulatory system) and the Neural system. Essentially if you don't rot from outside-in, you rot from inside out. The Russians have documented this thoroughly. The actual chemical name of the stuff is Desmorphine, and was developed Switzerland in the interwar period as a Morphine substitute with much faster and stronger effect. The damn thing was never intended to be used with any type of frequency, and it quickly went out of use as safer options became available. 

hurrrrrrr
hurrrrrrr

@ChristieLey your logic is off. When people are addicted they are NOT thinking of other people.

#libtardedamerica
#libtardedamerica

@mary.waterton 

spoken like a true idiot. have they been pushing legalization of heroin? no. of cocaine? no. or LSD? no. the only "drug" anyone is pushing to legalize is marijuana. and you know why that is? because it's the only drug on that list that's harmless. get your head out of your a**

QueenCaranto
QueenCaranto

@Pirate-BirdieOf-theHavel I agree. If they choose to do this sh*t to themselves, that's their choice. BTW, I'm not an American but I agree with you that the American government should focus on helping those who are fighting for their lives who did NOT intentionally and willingly put it in danger in the first place.

hurrrrrrr
hurrrrrrr

@Panda312 actually the "flesh-eating" happens when you miss a vein. It is absolutely caused by the drug. You are referring to one ingredient, but the umbrella term "drug" applies to everything in it.

DenaKelley
DenaKelley

@jaroughan - And yet there is always that first time - I guess I wonder why people ever even try this crap in the first place? There's no upside. No high is that good.

AndyClark
AndyClark

@joeydunne That is the obvious 'between the lines' truth... they used to say the same things about Ecstasy and now that chemical is being considered for mainstream psychiatric use and is determined to be not very addicting.  NOT to imply that is the case here, they do tend to give worst case scenarios but if most people did not enjoy it... it would not sell.  BTW, I have not tried either drug.

olasson
olasson

Maybe they didn't know about the consequences? Only learned the recipe and experienced the high? And even if they did know, one might think it's not about one shot. And take the one again and again.

MihalixBenko
MihalixBenko

@AndyClark @joeydunne You really should Google the effects of this stuff. The Russians seen many many cases of it. This is nothing like Ecstasy or Heroin or Cocaine or anything else that came before.

This is essentially made out of household chemicals like lighter fuel and battery acid.