The United States was introduced to the Russian street drug krokodil last month when two people in Arizona were admitted into a poison control center with rotting flesh, and now, it may have reached Chicago.
Krokodil is a cheap heroin substitute made out of a mixture of codeine and various household chemicals like gasoline, paint thinner or rubbing alcohol. The drug became infamous in Russia for its most notorious side effects, melting the flesh of those who use it, causing gangrene, or morphing the skin into scaly green patches.
Earlier this week, St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois, admitted three patients who told Dr. Abhin Singla that they used krokodil, according to NBC Chicago. Singla said that the use of the drug, which causes gangrene and abscesses, “maimed” his patients’ arms and legs. The first three Joliet cases were reportedly three women under the age of 25, and although they admitted they were using korkodil, none of them would divulge where or how it was obtained.
The Drug Enforcement Administration however, is not so quick to call this a krokodil wave. DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told Fox News that , “We, the DEA, are not seeing cases of it. Nothing’s been turn into any of our labs. As far as the DEA is concerned, we have not seen any cases.”
Krokodil is reportedly easy to make, some say a batch takes around 30 minutes to make, and incredibly cheap, the number of krokodil users in Russia has skyrocketed in the last ten years. Time magazine estimated in 2011 that Russia may have up to a million krokodil users amid the up to 2.5 million drug addicts in the country.