Chicago Area Krokodil Victims Describe Drug’s Horrifying Effects

They hope speaking out will inspire others to stop using.

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Krokodil victims in the Chicago area have started to speak out about the drug’s horrifying physical effects, as the flesh-eating concoction, which is similar to heroin and has been popularized in Russia, continues to appear throughout the U.S., including Arizona and Utah.

“It almost starts like a burn from a cigarette,” Amber Neitzel, 26, told ABC’s WLS-TV. “It starts purple and then goes into a blister after five or six days.”

(MORE: The Most Horrifying Drug in the World Comes to the U.S.)

She and her sister Angie Neitzel, 29,  told the station they are two of five victims who have been treated at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joilet, Illinois. They believe it’s possible that they have been injecting the drug into their bodies for more than a year, thinking it was heroin.

“Amber stopped shooting in her legs a little over a month ago, because it was making black spots everywhere,” their mother Kimberly Neitzel, also a heroin addict, told WBBM News Radio in a segment published Tuesday. She said Angie has just been released from the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery on her legs last week, while Amber is suffering gangrene infections in both legs and arms. Mail Online has published graphic photos of the injuries.

(MORE: The World’s Most Horrifying Drug Spreading Rapidly Across the U.S.)

Krokodil, which costs $8 per hit on the street, contains a mix of codeine, gasoline, paint thinner, and alcohol, that can cause abscesses and gangrene on the skin, making it look as scaly as that of crocodiles. Bones and muscle can be exposed as the drug eats away at the flesh, and users become susceptible to infections. Average life expectancy of krokodil users is two to three years, per TIME’s 2011 profile on the widespread use of the drug in Russia.

And while the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics investigates a possible link to the drug and the deaths of two men, the Neitzel family told the news outlets that they came forward about their experience to warn others to stay away from krokodil.

MORE: The World’s Most Horrifying Drug May Have Claimed Its First U.S. Victim

57 comments
jrandallwebber
jrandallwebber

I own the linkedin.com "Emerging Drugs of Abuse" discussion group, with more than 2500 members in the United States and 44 other countries. From the beginning, not one of us believed the "krokodil" stories. There is no analytic (blood, urine ,tissue) evidence that krokodil is now or has ever been in the United States. Supposedly, addicts are buying krokodil (a home made version of the opioid substance desomorphine) under the mistaken impression that it is heroin. However, in Chicago (one of the location where krokodil was most recently reported), heroin is cheap and available at unusually high purity. Krokodil differs greatly in appearance, smell and taste from heroin, and no addict would mistake it for the latter.

If anyone has scientific proof that desomorphine has ever been detected in the body of any individual treated for krokodil-related medical conditions, or that it has at any time been detected in a drug sample, please call the U.S. Centers on Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Drug Abuse, federal Drug Enforcement Administration or your state of local department of public health, because it will be news to them.

whimzkulls
whimzkulls

If you are a user, get hip to what is out there instead of just trusting your connection. Dealers will sell anything to you....that is a fact. Meth is made with poison, and people are addicted after only one hit! If this is imitating heroin, wake up and smell your spoon!! Get savvy, but unfortunately, when jonseing, they'll shoot anything that goes into their needles!  It is tragic. Spending money on new clinics for just this drug, is a waste of money, IMHO. If heroin users don't care on the ingredients in their drug, they will just be shooting hot shots for the last two years of their lives!

ozoneocean
ozoneocean

It's not the drug doing that to the junkies, it's the dealers. There's no such thing as a flesh eating drug, none of that harmful stuff has to be in the perpetration. It's bad because it's deliberately made that way. You can add all those harmful ingredients to simple water and that'll "rot" your flesh too exactly the same way, especially if prepared in unsanitary conditions.

elsie4.com
elsie4.com

To all you psychos out there that think these people deserve this should stop  and take a moment to look at your own life. you really think you or someone you love doesn't have some form of addiction. You might be thinking right now oh no of course i don't i mean especially not drugs......well your just ******* full of your self.  next time you feel the need to think your better than someone and have more of a right to be alive you should know YOUR WRONG because that single thought alone..that your life means more than someone else s PROVES that you in fact are the one this world would be better without. 

jckmuzak
jckmuzak

With heroin, dealers can sell Krokodil and passing it off as Heroin. They say its cheaper, therefore it makes them more money. That is why they say you never know what is in "Heroin", because it may or may not be as pure when you buy it. It could contain other things that can kill you, especially if it's  Krokodil . BEWARE, I am down right 100% against Heroin and  Krokodil

erik2467
erik2467

Well its good to see no one has any addictions out there and is in great health.  I was under the assumption that we all had issues. But.... its good to see that if Jesus said he who is without sin throw the first rock you all would have been able to start,  It would have made a lousy Bible story.  I think the next time that you have a drink or a smoke or that extra cookie that you will take a second and realize that all those things cause damage and that that is your addiction.  maybe the next time that you are depressed and turn to your addiction be thankful that you have some sort of support in your life.  What kind of support do you think that these 2 girls had growing up?  you think mom tells them she loves them all the time like your did?  You think that they have friends like you do?  They got a bad addiction and they cant kick it.  Maybe cuz they have never been shown any compassion from anyone in their lives ever.  Where do you think you might be if you grew up in those circumstances.  

borisklesko
borisklesko

they are not victims - they are junkies!  people who made really bad decisions, and when they had to look at the uphill climb it would be to straighten out thier lives, they decided - lets get high again instead.  i cant, my family cant, my neighbors cant afford to support them any more.  sometimes, in any situation, you have to cut bait and let it go.....  its time.  the two year life expectancy?  consider whatever social services you recieve as your severance package from the human race.

those of you 'we have to save them' people - i understand your beliefs on this....  take one home and help them, on your dime, effecting your family.  if you arent willing - shut up.

olasson
olasson

This is sad, why could not they simply drink tomato juice and go for a jog to get a high?

cookieju119
cookieju119

Natural selection; Those with this (um er)adaptation(if you want to call it)? Fail to reproduce and those traits therefore are not pass onto the next generation ( we want this)

HermesEmphasis
HermesEmphasis

This is euthanasia at its best. Best way to control exploding population. There is no need for laws to control this practice as this is  the best way to cleanse communities of drug addicts.

MissPrincess202
MissPrincess202

Since when are drug addicts victims? If you're purposefully injecting poison into your bloodstream you're not a victim. You're just another idiot. 

Hotpuppy
Hotpuppy

In other news: Muratic Acid is available for $4 per gallon with similar flesh eating effects.  I think this drug is eligible for a darwin award... only a fool would inject a flesh eating substance.  On the bright side it has potential as an assisted suicide drug.

GaryRMcCray
GaryRMcCray

Sounds like the perfect drug for people who can't decide whether they want to be an addict or commit suicide.

You can do both at once.

Although it sounds like there might be a lot more pleasant ways to commit suicide.

I'm surprised they didn't call it "Russian Roulette".

ScottLong
ScottLong

their mother Kimberly Neitzel, also a heroin addict. nominated for bad parent of the year award. like mother like daughter whole family is screwed up



DaveDavis
DaveDavis

Rumor has it, it also turns life long Republicans into Obama voters, I think its a guvmint conspiracy.

gpaucek
gpaucek

when u think there isn't a devil! He's here!!

tinamarietorres55
tinamarietorres55

U r sooooo RIGHT! ADDICTION is an ugly disease. Who's 2 judge!! No1!!

Beth78
Beth78

@elsie4.com I wouldn't say they "deserve" it, but people who take drugs like this know the consequences so I can't feel sorry for them. I have known some people to get hooked on pain killers but those are prescribed, heroin isn't. Either way, anyone who abuses drug use, is, in my opinion, very ignorant. They don't have any respect for their bodies or minds so how can you feel sorry for them???  They should seek professional help...just like an alcoholic. If someone is depressed, etc. and that's their reason for taking drugs, again, seek professional help. There is no excuse to abuse one's body like that. 

tinamarietorres55
tinamarietorres55

I totally agree with u. Not every1 had a Great childhood. It's very sad 2 hear that mother&daughter(s)are in this terrible situation. I hope they beat this addiction. May God Bless U&Every1!

Beth78
Beth78

@borisklesko It seems that the ones posting who are on the defensive may have gone through drug addiction before. Like I said in my comment above, anyone who abuses drugs knows the consequences. There is help out there for anyone who is an addict.  I can't put myself in their shoes and say it's easy to go through rehab, but they have to start somewhere otherwise they are digging their own grave. I believe someone that is an addict, has no respect for themselves. Sounds like you have issues borisklesko. If I had a friend, relative, sister, brother, etc. who was an addict, and they didn't seek professional help, even with the support of family, and they constantly denied the help, how can I have any compassion for someone like that? 


DrKat
DrKat

@borisklesko Though the words above may be harsh, the truth remains that NO ONE can help an addict.  The Addict HAS to help themselves.  The only way to break this is to break the families.  Children do what their families do.  So if you truly want to do something then indeed pull a child into your home as a foster child.  Having been a foster child, I can assure you most of you will be too weak to make a difference.  You live in sunshine and happiness worlds.  I was rejected multiple times yet their were those who were strong enough (with NO pity delusions like many of you) who guided me.  I not only survived I am successful.  I now speak to those who want to become foster parents.  I tell them most of you will suck at this if you think like most of you do.  Foster Children deserve love, however, most are sneaky, lying, thieves with MAJOR behavior issues.  So before you start with your OH we are are going to save the world realize that you will have to accept what you get.

elsie4.com
elsie4.com

@borisklesko Wow i hope you never need any help in your life. Cause from that statement you don't ever deserve it. Basic. Human. Compassion. nothing you say is going to change how this country is run or how much you have to pay in taxes. So STFUp 

elsie4.com
elsie4.com

@cookieju119  If natural selection was in fact real and or fair... then you, my friend, would be one one who i would hope fails to reproduce because we do not wish for anyone to have your traits. 

BethanyZimmerman
BethanyZimmerman

That's exactly what I was thinking... How are they the victim?? We the tax paying citizens are the victim because now we have to pay to help get these idiots medical help with our tax money. And I can almost certainly guarantee they receive some sort of state benefit.

BillDowney
BillDowney

@DaveDavis  I can't agree, it sounds a lot more like the Republican healthcare program.

mscen221
mscen221

@gpaucek I am so glad you wrote that because many if not most people don't take the devil seriously.  They foolishly think of him as a cute little being in a cute little red suit with cute little horns.  While in reality, he is a powerful supernatural EVIL, STRONG spirit that is capable of TOTAL destruction of witting/willing and unwitting/unwilling beings.   Yes, he is HERE and he is BUSY!  Thank you for reminding us.

Hotpuppy
Hotpuppy

@gpaucek We know there is a devil.  He's presently the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States.... he's helping 49 morons hold our economy and government hostage.  Way to go John "Satan" Boehner.


HayleyFrancescaSmith
HayleyFrancescaSmith

@Beth78 @elsie4.com (posted again because your comment is equally ignorant) CLEARLY if you don't know why an addict is a victim, then you don't know anything about addiction. Pure ignorance. Once you make the choice to use, it DOES become a disease where your brain is hijacked by the drug. This has been officially proved.. Here, let me enlighten you since apparently you're the one who's an idiot (it's quite interesting actually). 

The midbrain is our "primal" instinct. It tells us "SEX! FOOD! SHELTER!" to keep our species alive. The frontal cortex is where human beings think things out... it's where their morals are, it basically helps a human being decide "Hmm, what's the RIGHT thing to do to be a good person?" Along with religion, spirituality, etc. Now, for years there's been a debate about whether or not addiction is a disease. They've finally been able to prove that, in fact, it IS a disease. To be a disease, it has to fit a certain model, that looks something like this (I can't remember exactly, so bare with me): THE DEFECTIVE ORGAN ---> THE CAUSE --> THE SYMPTOMS. For example, Diabetes looks like this: The PANCREAS is the defective organ. The CAUSE is problems with insulin and sugar. The SYMPTOMS are low blood pressure, fainting, coma, death, loss of limbs. 

Well, genetics play a part in how likely/fast a person is going to get addicted. When someone (especially someone with a genetic predisposition to addiction) does ANY drug- whether it's alcohol or marijuana or heroin, it causes dopamine to rise to unnatural levels. Well, back to the "caveman days," high dopamine levels helped up survive. For example, if you were starving to death, would you choose lettuce or chocolate cake? You would choose chocolate cake because it causes your dopamine levels to rise more than eating lettuce. That saved your life. If you chose lettuce, you would still die of starvation. So, our brain sees rises in dopamine levels as a GOOD thing. Our brain thinks that when our dopamine levels rise, it's because it's saving our lives somehow. So, the brain will start craving those high dopamine levels. That's how addiction starts. 

As your brain "gets used to" these high dopamine surges, it begins to manipulate the midbrain. So now, once you're addicted, instead of "SEX! FOOD! SHELTER!" your midbrain tells you "DRUGS! SEX! FOOD! SHELTER!" Now, normally the frontal cortex keeps the midbrain in check, right? It tells our midbrain "Yeah, you can have sex, but wait til you're with your girlfriend and you cook her a nice dinner and she consents." WELL once you're an addict, the frontal cortex is no longer in charge of the midbrain. Instead, the midbrain tells the frontal cortex what to do. So this explains why addicts "act bad/ do bad things." It's because the midbrain is telling the frontal cortex "You will die if you don't get this drug. You must steal your grandma's ring and pawn it so you can survive." 

Therefore, addiction fits the disease model. The BRAIN is the diseased organ. The CAUSE is addiction and changes in the midbrain, causing the midbrain to control the frontal cortex instead of vice versa. The SYMPTOMS of this disease? Lying, stealing, prostituting, etc. Now, that's not because the person WANTS to do those things, it IS because their brain is diseased by addiction. 

So if you don't see addicts as victims, then what about those with psychotic disorders who aren't in touch with reality? Are they victims, or is it ALL THEIR FAULT? Basically if you don't see an addict as a victim, then, simply put, YOU ARE UNEDUCATED. What if those who are diabetic were getting poisoned insulin, causing their skin to rot off, while be told that it's "just their regular insulin?" This is the exact same situation. Get educated. You sound like a bunch of hillbillys who never passed second grade. 

And yes, I WAS an addict. I'm in recovery now. I did bad things as an addict, things I would NEVER do in my right mind. Now, I volunteer at homeless shelters, animal shelters, highly involved in revitalizing my city, and I want to be a social worker so I can help those in need. Am I a terrible person who "deserves to die" because of bad choices I've made while I was sick? Well if you think addicts deserve to die, you're not just killing their disease, but you're ALSO killing someone who is capable of being a better human being than you'll ever be, once they get well.

MissyPea
MissyPea

@Beth78 @borisklesko You're saying if a friend or family member had an addiction, and didnt seek help on their own, you wouldn't have any compassion for them? Some friend/sibling/offspring you are. Addiction changes the whole thought process, such as what is logical and what is important. Drugs do a lot to the dopamine receptors, as well as other important parts, in the brain. Your brain is responsible for everything. It's kind of like a computer virus. Your computer isnt going to fix itself, is it? Then why would you think an addict would fix their self?

amanda.sharp001
amanda.sharp001

@DrKat @borisklesko My father was a heroin addict  for 10 yrs, nothing i can do or say would ever make him stop ..I still loved him even though he was never there for me .. I was in fostor care for 10 years, and I am happy I was not living with him when he shot up ! Even though living in many fostor homes were very damaging and stressful , I stil made it through and came out alive .. and DRKAT you are right , you cant help a drug addict , its impossible .. no matter who you are there is no helping someone when they dont want the help..

LukeCarr
LukeCarr

@elsie4.com @cookieju119 Because he/she isn't a bleeding heart that allows people to leech off of them? If you want to take care of them, you go take them into your home and help them. Most likely they don't want your help because their brains are fried from drugs.

LukeCarr
LukeCarr

@BillDowney @DaveDavis yeah it does. The one where we don't pay for the scum of the earth. By the way, how much is Obamacare going to raise your insurance prices? Have you been told that you can't keep your doctor either, just like everyone I know? 

YouDontKnow1
YouDontKnow1

@Hotpuppy @gpaucek I like how this article has literally no relevance whatsoever to politics, yet somehow you manage to pull insults out of your ass. Good job being tolerant and staying on topic. A+.

gpaucek
gpaucek

@Hotpuppy @gpaucek well your close in D.C. at least I believe your mistaking Boehner for obama though! 1200 days left for this looser I pray we make it! 

ladydia50
ladydia50

@HayleyFrancescaSmith @Beth78 @elsie4.com

BRAVO, HayleyFrancescaSmith and congratulations on your recovery!  I, for one, am very proud of your accomplishments and commend you for attempting to educate the uneducated on the DISEASE of addiction.  One day at a time…


DrKat
DrKat

@amanda.sharp001 @DrKat @borisklesko My mother and most of my extended family (especially on her side) were addicts.  I have compassion for them.  I just do not allow them into my life.  My mother has moments of clarity and I allow her limited access to myself and my family.  I have learned to forgive.  I have not however, become unrealistic.  I do not put my neck out for those who would chop it off.

baybabygirl
baybabygirl

@gpaucek I don't always pray, but when I do, I pray for you to get some help with your grammatical errors. Stay stupid my friend. BTW IT'S *YOU'RE* you moron....