Watch Krokodil Addicts Discuss the Flesh-Eating Drug’s Horrifying Effects

Treatment centers may not be equipped to handle the medical complications of Krokodil addiction.

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In this Chicago Sun Times video, Amber Neitzel, 26, a drug addict from Joliet, Illinois, showed off one of her sore-covered legs, a gruesome effect of Krokodil, a drug popularized in Russia that’s similar to heroin and made up of an injectable combo of paint thinner, gasoline, and codeine. “Just because you don’t have a big sore on your leg like this, like I do, does not mean that you’re not getting the drug, that means it’s rotting you from the inside out,” Amber says in the clip.

Joined by mother and fellow heroin addict Kimberly, Amber, who developed gangrene infections on both legs and arms, and her sister Angie Neitzel, 29, who had emergency surgery on her legs last week, hope the damage to their bodies will inspire other users to stay away from the drug, even though it’s as cheap as $8 per hit on the street.

As use of the flesh-eating drug in the U.S. is becoming more well-known in states like Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Illinois, are there sufficient rehab programs for Krokodil addicts? Use of the drug “would limit treatment programs,” Pete McLenighan, Executive Director of Stepping Stones Treatment Center in Joliet, Illinois, told The Herald News. Three women and two men received treatment for their wounds last week at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, and Vic Reato, a spokesperson for Will County health department, told the publication that it has no “direct way” of tracking Krokodil use in the area.

MORE: Chicago Area Krokodil Victims Describe Drug’s Horrifying Effects

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

31 comments
Waltermann
Waltermann

How bout a chemical combination that gives a feeling of complete euphoria, right before your head implodes.

DavidJones3
DavidJones3

So let me get this straight would it not be safer to drink alchol, breath paint thiner fumes, and pop vicodin at the sametime. I'm pretty sure that would get you pretty loopy. Oh wait their drug addicts theirfore retarded and don't know chemical compositions duh!

phunke80
phunke80

I hate people that do drugs just so they can talk about it.

yshabazz2
yshabazz2

This is so dumb. When you inject gasoline and paint thinner in your veins no good can come from that.

malicon420
malicon420

I have an idea, let them smoke marijuana, and use the DEA to go after this stuff instead of the pot heads.

Don't think they aren't, maybe not in your state but in mine marijuana users are treated like heroin dealers. What a waste of time and money.

NullSkull
NullSkull

Is there no good heroin in these areas? Christ. Desomorphine doesn't even last long enough to make this "8 a hit" economically viable for your average drug addict really does it? Seems like a very desperate attempt to get right for a very short period of time, otherwise they really didn't know what they were in for.

Pure diamorphine and other opioids in and of themselves are much safer than black tar and other forms of street heroin and unspeakably less damaging to the user than freaky drug concoctions like Krokodil. Unfortunately, the American public isn't sensible enough to make USP heroin available to those who would use it anyways, those addicted to it, and those who would do harm to obtain it.

A more appealing alternative might be to make a less potent opioid such as hydrocodone available over the couter (to adults) WITHOUT acetaminophen. You can't\shouldn't inject hydrocodone and it works very well when taken orally anyways.


EndiveGardener
EndiveGardener

Would it not make more sense to decriminalize actual heroin, and regulate it? Seems it would be far safer in the long run.

sciguybm
sciguybm

I am guessing the "emergency surgery" was done at the taxpayers expense. Also guessing they'll be signing up for Obamacare shortly.

Exactly what we need: more leeches on the resources of the world. Thanks Obummer.

Daedl
Daedl

Krokodil is bad enough without spreading misinformation. Some issues to consider...

1) The 'active' ingredient in Krokodil (the one synthesizers are trying to make, the one addicts are trying to take) is desomorphine, not codeine. 

2) Desomorphine is being 'bathtub' synthesized from codeine (which is available over the counter in Russia, where this whole shindig started). The codeine has to be extracted using gasoline/ paint thinner, but even a bathtup chemist doesn't get that gasoline/ paint thinner in the final product. So implying that users are shooting up gasoline and paint thinner to get high is inaccurate (and a little unfair to these addicts/ victims)

3) The end product is a combination of chemicals, including desomorphine and codeine, but also probably acetaminophen (Tylenol) if the original codeine product from which the Krokodil is being made has acetaminophen in it (high doses of acetaminophen are very bad for the liver

4) The injected 'fluid' is usually very salty, has iodine in it, and is acidic  (pH < 3; hydrochloric acid). This fluid and the melange of chemicals within are likely the culprits for the gangrene. It is highly unlikely that the desomorphine itself is the cause of the damage- desomorphine kills like most other opioids, by respiratory depression.

NullSkull
NullSkull

@DavidJones3 Oh wait, you don't know what you're talking about either. It isn't really about getting "loopy"; opioid addicts take opioids to obliterate or prevent physical WITHDRAWAL symptoms and to make the addict feel "normal", or better. You seriously lack understanding of how drugs work in the brain, and how dependence develops. 

Alcohol really isn't safe, and alcohol withdrawal can actually kill you. Vicodin is a combo of hydrocodone (an opioid\mu-agonist) and acetaminophen (Tylenol\APAP). APAP is quite toxic to the liver; should not be combined with alcohol. Paint thiner fumes should not be inhaled. Paint thinner is acetone, and in the case of Krokodil it is probably used as a solvent to extract the codeine from the tablets. 

The issue here is that some apparently quite desperate addicts are\were trying to prepare (or were sold) homebake desomorphine (read the bottom post) using chemicals from industrial sources. They took little or no steps to purify the target compound (desomorphine) and this is the result.

Daedl
Daedl

@NullSkull 

I think that was the original motivation in Russia. The government severely curtailed illicit heroine/ morphine import, but codeine was still available over-the-counter. Now, why is it coming over here where as you say, the price point is not great, the side effects are awful, and we've got other choices. I wonder if it has to do with those new uncrushable oxycontin pills?

As I was commenting to EndiveGardener below, if heroine was made available, it would have to be like in a methadone program restricted to current users, couldn't release it 'into the wild' or our addict population (like it or not, hydrocodone or not, addicts are at a greater risk for a host of problems- many of which are not solved by legalization). And the dosing on heroine is not nearly as convenient as that for methadone (which by the way, is probably MORE dangerous than heroine) so I don't think the government is going to go for it.

Daedl
Daedl

@EndiveGardener 

I'd like to think this would work, but...

We tried it during the Civil War, the Chinese tried it before that. Everybody got stoned, nobody except poets and artists got any work done. 

Also consider that it is very likely that we would have a large increase in the number of people becoming dependent/ tolerant to opioids. Even if the drugs were overall 'safer' because a pure, legal source was available, these drugs are still killers, and some proportion of that new, larger population is still going to die from overdose. Is that more or less harm than is currently being done?

We have no better drugs than opioids for controlling most kinds of severe pain, but these drugs are also dangerous. There just is no way around it until we invent a non-addictive, non-euphoric opioid-level analgesic that doesn't cause respiratory depression. We have to use the agents we have, and carefully!

sturmphan
sturmphan

@sciguybm Wow, you're a real expert on how healthcare works in the U.S.!

BKdoc
BKdoc

@sciguybm  Even on an article that has nothing to do with politics, here you are.  "blah blah blah obamacare blah blah blah corny insulting nickname for obama blah blah blah..."  

rparker
rparker

@sciguybm

...you selfish jack@ss--  you've got yours, so everyone else can just die right--  wow, what a narrow minded, weak brained jack@ss !

EndiveGardener
EndiveGardener

@sciguybm Emergency surgeries would be done no matter who was president. I would hope they have or can soon get affordable health care insurance, as it should actually relieve the so called "leech factor" of straight up unpaid medical bills.

BillySpradlee
BillySpradlee

@Daedl so are you a doctor or a chemist? or did you stay at a holiday inn express last night?

NullSkull
NullSkull

@Daedl @NullSkull 

Heroin maintenance would be a giant leap in the right direction. Hydromorphone is another viable  alternative for which there is actually some active research and development into maintenance applications as a polymer implant that goes beneath the skin and releases the drug over extended periods of time. This delivery method is appealing because not only does it not have to rely on the user to remember to take their dosage, it is also resistant to tampering and diversion.

Such a program only addresses the medical\addiction aspect of the issue, and only those who could establish themselves as having a pre-existing physical dependence would be eligible to receive the treatment, which may also require counseling\therapy or psycho-social support. 

The legal and financial aspects are what keep heroin on the street, in the hands of unscrupulous drug dealers who don't check IDs, with the profits funding the agendas of dangerous criminal organizations.

As with drugs in general, some people are always going to want to try opioids such as heroin and some people are always going to become dependent upon them. Not everybody who uses heroin is physically dependent\addicted to it. But the fact of the matter is that heroin is already out "in the wild", on the streets of every major American city and most every town as well. Those who really want to try\use it are probably going to find it and those who are addicted to it most likely already know where to get it. Only problem is the quality is highly inconsistent, price is highly inflated and it may contain any number of other potentially toxic substances, not to mention that you have to deal with criminals to get it.

Based on this I believe it should be available in some form legally to any adult who wants it, regulated much like alcohol only somewhat more stringently. For instance, limits on the amount of heroin any one individual can purchase at once, or daily. It may be distributed exclusively as tablets, with a small amount of inert filler. Alternatively pharmacists could be allowed to dispense certain dosage forms at their discretions.

An example of an extra-stringent regulation protocol may call for potential buyers to register themselves and sit through a brief harm reduction class before being allowed to purchase any heroin (or other drugs) . They could be dispensed by special vending machines activated by biometrics, tracking user purchases to ensure exorbitant amounts aren't being sold to any one person. 

sciguybm
sciguybm

@sturmphan @sciguybm as a clinical practitioner I would say yes: I am perfectly aware how the healthcare system works in the USA

sciguybm
sciguybm

@BKdoc @sciguybm ORIGINAL corny insulting nickname for Obama. 2nd most worthless president in USA history, behind Reagan of course.

sciguybm
sciguybm

@rparker @sciguybm just to be clear here: "...you've got yours.." came about because I studied in school instead of hanging around the streets doing drugs, graduated from HS and college, which I paid for myself by working part time and going to school part time, (instead of hanging around the streets smoking dope and spending my money on drugs), started my own company, given my education and determination, worked day & night for 30 years while having a family that I supported, paid for my children's college educations by working night & day and traveling thousands of miles week in and week out. Whereas they all now contribute to the world and society instead of leeching from it. Oh, and I am a product of a broken home, out of Queens NY and still, even though "you've got yours" is really "I made mine" you think that the world is a better place because this worthless trash is in it?  Well: I am almost off the conveyor: you'll be supporting them and their baby-mommas without me paying my tens of thousands in taxes. Good luck with that.....unless you ARE one of them and already a leech.

ruthboldrey
ruthboldrey

yes if they are that stupid they deserve what they get. LOL.

deadwalker
deadwalker

@rparker @sciguybm  selfish?  maybe but if they are STUPID enough and SELFISH enough to take this crap then "THIN THE HERD"....let God sort them out and don't waste good resources on people that dont give a crap about themselves. It is a conscience decision they made to abuse their bodies that God gave them. I would much rather help a stranger from a car accident or with cancer than somone I have known for 10 years that intentionally injected themselves with this crap and screamed poor me I gotta hole in my injection site pity me....emergency surgery save me so I can freakin do it again. That is a JACKA$$>

sciguybm
sciguybm

@EndiveGardener @sciguybm Ok, good answer. Hope you're right in this.

However, after watching 50 years of how people actually respond to welfare/Medicare I think my view is more realistic then your view. But you are young: all young adults are idealistic & democrats and all young adults get older and become jaded & republicans. You'll see.

weblizard
weblizard

@sciguybm @sturmphan Please tell me it's pathology; can only imagine the fate of a living person under your tender ministrations...

sciguybm
sciguybm

@BillySpradlee @sciguybm @BKdoc how can you not hate the man who singlehandedly tore the EPA and FDA into pieces and replaced the federal government workers who had our health and safety in mind and replaced them with short-term contract employees who work, full time FOR THE VERY COMPANIES MAKING THE REVIEW AND APPROVAL APPLICATIONS???? And to make his criminal legacy complete: he changed the requirement for 3rd party toxicology (someone who would be worried if they were caught cheating, like Craven Labs) and made it ok for the toxicology TO COME FROM THE VERY COMPANIES MAKING THE APPLICATIONS AND THE PRODUCTS.

Want to know where your cancer comes from? reagan.

Obamma? Just another worthless butt kissing panderer to any voting block. Do nothing, Is nothing. 8 wasted years of leaderless dribble and great photo-ops. If anyone keeps count: is this THE most photographed presididn't or what?

NullSkull
NullSkull

@sciguybm @rparker You want a pat on the back, a parade? And who exactly is "them", anyways? Drug addicts? Sorry if I have to be the first one to burst your little uppity bubble, but here is a reality: drug addicts have families, many even support families; most have jobs. Most drug addicts even pay taxes. Many, perhaps even the majority, do something other than steal and manipulate people for their fix. Not that some wouldn't, if they really HAD to, but most are not out to cause any harm to anybody, believe it or not.

People who develop opioid dependence\addiction, which happens progressively, not after x number of uses- are in trouble when they don't have any drugs. Alcoholics are in even more serious trouble without alcohol, because that kind of withdrawal can lead to seizures and possibly coma, death. Lucky for alcoholics they don't have to go very far or spend much for a drink or risk being arrested for it But is everybody who drinks a "leech", as well, or are they just diligent consumers?

One could draw parallels between this Krokodil crap and the bathtub gin of the Prohibition, which blinded and killed many imbibers. 

RobertG.Berke
RobertG.Berke

@sciguybm @EndiveGardener Actually sci, your view is borderline retarded. Without the emergency surgery, this wretch would die in the street after infecting god knows how many people--possibly even the kid who sits next to yours in school. Access to health care is a PUBLIC health issue. You can't just lock yourself up in a bubble and let the poor people only transmit their diseases among themselves. They enter the population. Frankly, I don't want some homeless hag coughing up crap on my shoes if it could easily be prevented by a trip to the doctor. Before you turn America into a third world country, I strongly recommend you visit one and see what it is you are wishing for. And by the way, I'm one of your beloved "job creators" and anything but young.