After last week’s announcement that Krokodil had made its way to suburban Chicago, two sisters have confirmed that they are two of the five people being treated at the Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet for complications from the drug.
Amber Neitzel, 26, and Angie Neitzel, 29, hope their story serves as a wake up call for other addicts: “If it touches one person at least and gets one person clean, that’s what I hope happens so bad.”
According to the sisters, they’ve both been abusing the drug—usually a mixture of codeine and gasoline or lighter fluid—for over a year thinking it was just “normal heroin.” But as Angie’s skin condition worsened, Amber had to take her to the hospital where the sores on her elbow were so bad, they almost had to cut off part of the bone.
In their interview with WLS-TV you can see some of the effects of the drug on their skin; their interview with the Daily Mail shows far more graphic and revolting images. Amber described the process of Krokodil spreading on her arm: “It starts purple and then goes into a blister after five or six days.” Even worse is the description of her boyfriend’s Krokodil use and how he “actually had maggots coming out of his leg.”
Both sisters hope their brush with death will help them become clean so they can regain lost custody of their children. Doctors have told them if they continue using, they’ll both be dead within several years.
Whether or not a Krokodil “epidemic” is actually occurring or if it’s just a morbid cultural obsession is certainly up for debate (rumors of its availability at Le Bain in NYC made the rounds last week). However, Oklahoma officials reported on Monday that they are investigating what may be the first official death caused by Krokodil in the U.S.