Watch CBS News

Flesh-Eating Street Drug 'Krokodil' Hits Chicago Area

(CBS) -- A street drug has hit the streets of suburban Chicago. It can cause deadly gangrene infections just days after it's used. CBS 2's Mike Parker reports.

Doctors at Presence St. Joseph's Medical Center are treating three people with horrific symptoms of a new and deadly drug that originated in Russia. Because of its effect on skin and muscle, it's called Krokodil as in Crocodile. It rots flesh and rots it fast.

One of them is a 25-year-old woman, a heroin user for 10 years, who started using the new drug a month ago. Now she is in extremely critical condition.

Dr. Abhin Singla, an internist and addiction specialist calls the drug, "terrible. When she came in, she had the destruction that occurs because of this drug, over 70 percent of her lower body."

The dirt cheap drug, also known as Desomorphine, is essentially home- made heroin, using among other things, codeine mixed with gasoline or paint thinner. It is usually injected.

"It's very frightening," Singla says. "It almost immediately starts to destroy blood cells and blood vessels, literally causes gangrene from the inside of the body coming out."

The first U.S. cases popped up last week in Utah and Arizona. Two days ago, the three cases in Joliet were discovered.

The drug, Singla says can be a death sentence. He says the average life expectancy after the first use of Desomorphine is 2 years in Russia.

No comment on this surprise discovery from Will County law enforcement, and the Chicago Police Department is not yet discussing it.

Warning: the video below contains graphic content.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.