Top Menu

“Krokodil” Flesh-Eating Drug Makes Appearance in Chicago Suburbs


Doctors at a suburban Chicago hospital report they are treating three people who used a caustic, homemade heroin-like drug called “krokodil” that can rot flesh and bone, CBS Chicago reports. Last month, Arizona health officials reported two cases of people who used the drug.

The drug became popular in Russia about 10 years ago as a cheap replacement for heroin. It costs about three times less than heroin, and produces a similar, but much shorter, high.

Krokodil is made from over-the-counter codeine-based headache pills, mixed with gasoline, paint thinner, alcohol or iodine. When a person injects the drug, it destroys tissue, and turns the skin scaly and green, giving it a crocodile-like appearance. The drug can also cause blood poisoning, festering sores and abscesses.

One of the patients at Presence St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois is a 25-year-old woman who has used heroin for 10 years, according to CBS Chicago. She started using krokodil a month ago, and is in extremely critical condition.

Dr. Abhin Singla said, “When she came in, she had the destruction that occurs because of this drug, over 70 percent of her lower body.” He added, “It’s very frightening. It almost immediately starts to destroy blood cells and blood vessels, literally causes gangrene from the inside of the body coming out.” Singla noted the average life expectancy after the first use of the drug is two years in Russia.

9 Responses to this article

  1. Jeff / October 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I agree with most others here in that some people will attempt many things in order to feed their addiction. We have clients who will inject water from a puddle just to feel what they call, “The Bite”. This is simply the needle poke. No “high” is provided. However, the “poke” is so associated with their use they feel a bit of euphoria in “The Poke”. I have no doubt people would use this given the fact its cheaper and probably much easier to manufacture.

  2. Avatar of Gary
    Gary / October 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    As a full service toxicology lab, I reported on this drug several months ago when it was still located in Russia. It is important to increase awareness of this monster. Remaining silent will not stop word from traveling the ‘street’. I manage the drug testing services of an intensive outpatient group of a rehab clinic and this beast is the most alarming I’ve seen, by far!

  3. Avatar of Kelly
    Kelly / October 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Jane When you say “I wonder why anyone would try this dangerous combination of chemicals” you show that you do not understand addiction. We can wonder why anyone would use any number of addictive things i.e. cigarettes, meth, etc. The simple fact is they do and it’s dangerous. In working with teens I know how media frenzy can manipulate behavior I hope the scary pictures the media uses to create a frenzy has the positive effect of turning someone off of this drug.

  4. Avatar of PHYLLIS WARREN
    PHYLLIS WARREN / October 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I think all should be publishedo this, as a healthcare worker all drug activity should be published. I have no doubt that this combantion would decay bone and flesh. The idione plainly says for external use only. We all know it is stupid to use gasoline and again alcohol reads for external use only. Nothing other than sterile injections meant for IV use. These kids and parents need to be aware of all drugs out there on the street. It never ceases to amaze me at the risk of drugs, who makes them, who distributes them and who came up with the thought process them. Why are people willing to take or use any drug that is made by anybody not knowing what it is or who made it or what is in it, it is stupid to start with to not know who, when and what is in it. Anything an addict will you is a trust issue, you are playing for your life. When are the users going start suing, they suit a Dr or hosp, so why not suit the pusher and unauthorized distribution.

  5. Avatar of Orlando Colamatteo
    Orlando Colamatteo / October 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    You wonder why ‘anyone would try this dangerous combination of chemicals’? Have you ever been addicted to anything? If you have, this question would not be asked. I don’t know all the facts about this drug, I do know that when an addictive person wants to get high, they’ll do almost anything to do it…and use ANYTHING. I’ve also seen the results of people using other substances and what it can do to them physically and mentally. No matter the substance, it can be devastating.

  6. Jane Maxwell / October 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I am concerned with your publicity regard Krokodil and feeding into the mass media frenzy about a new drug. According to my EMCDDA sources, it has not been seen in Europe and I wonder if the media coverage of the Phoenix and Chicago sightings with the detailed descriptions helps or hurts? Heroin is cheap in the US and I have to wonder why anyone would try this dangerous combination of chemicals. Is the media guilty of overreacting and educating people about how to mix up this substance? Perhaps it is time to urge some restraint by the media until we hav solid evidence that the damage is caused by Krokodil and not by sepsis and bacterial infections?

  7. Avatar of Vmarek
    Vmarek / October 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Gary I agree! All people need to know about this! What if some kid thought they were only doing coke, and ended up with this in their nose!everyone who does needle drugs has a huge problem to think about. I hope I hope it goes away fast!

  8. Avatar of Angelo
    Angelo / October 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    “I have to wonder why anyone would try this dangerous combination of chemicals”

    Not sure why your at this website but you surely have no clue about the disease of addiction. Not with that comment above.

  9. Avatar of kevin rubio
    kevin rubio / April 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    for hw…..:/

Leave a Reply

Please read our comment policy and guidelines before you submit a comment. Your email address will not be published. Thank you for visiting

+ 3 = eleven

Reproduction in whole or in part of this publication is strictly prohibited without prior consent. Photographic rights remain the property of Join Together and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. For reproduction inquiries, please e-mail