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Flesh-eating, heroin knockoff strikes in Chicago's suburbs

Leslie Adkins/Post-Tribune A syringe surrounded by other items of drug paraphernalia, ziploc bags and a spoon for cooking heroin, PTMET Jan. 6, 2009.  The items were on display at the Porter County Courthouse in Valparaiso.

Crocodile is a deadly drug that rots the flesh, being passed off for heroin.  | Sun-Times Media file photo

A heroin knockoff referred to as "Crocodile" because it rots the flesh from the inside out, giving its users reptilian skin, has come to Chicago's suburbs where heroin use and overdoses have been on the rise. According to the ABC 7 report:

There is a new warning about a deadly drug said to devour flesh from the inside out. Several members of one suburban family are struggling to cope with the effects of Krokodil, the drug known as "crocodile."

Amber Neitzel of Joliet says she first noticed the wounds on her skin 18 months ago.

"It almost starts like a burn from a cigarette," she said. "It starts purple and then goes into a blister after five or six days."

Amber Neitzel and her sister Angie Neitzel are heroin addicts. They're also two of the five confirmed victims of a heroin-like flesh eating drug called Krokodil, or crocodile, reported by St. Joseph Medical Center last week, the first confirmed cases in Illinois.

"I'm scared to death right now. I can barely leave my house," Angie Neitzel said.

Doctors say crocodile rots the skin from the inside out causing gangrene. Angela's was so advanced that she had to undergo emergency surgery last week to save her legs.

[Read the full story at ABC 7]

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