US Sisters: We Took Flesh-Eating Drug Krokodil

They're among 5 treated for drug-related disease in Chicago-area hospital
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2013 8:29 AM CDT
Updated Oct 19, 2013 7:01 PM CDT
US Sisters: We Took Flesh-Eating Drug Krokodil
Drugs, but not Krokodil.   (Shutterstock)

More American users of the flesh-rotting Russian street drug Krokodil have emerged. Two sisters from Joliet, Ill., are among five who were treated for the drug's nasty side effects at a Chicago-area hospital last week. Amber and Angie Neitzel, both heroin addicts, say they thought they'd been buying and injecting their drug of choice, WLS-TV reports. Then about 18 months ago wounds started appearing on Amber's skin. "It almost starts like a burn from a cigarette," she says. "It starts purple and then goes into a blister after five or six days." The rotting became so advanced that Angie had to undergo emergency surgery last week to save her legs.

"You literally start rotting from the inside out," says a doctor at the hospital where the women were treated, per the Chicago Sun-Times. "Intensive treatment and skin grafts are required, but they are often not enough to save limbs or lives.” It was actually the Neitzels' mother—also a recovering heroin addict—who first suggested they might be shooting up the notorious drug instead of heroin, WLS-TV reports. Now the sisters say they're kicking their drug habit for good—doctors have told them they'll be dead within three years if they don't, and both have lost custody of their children. "I had $100 worth of heroin in my hand and threw it across the house," Amber tells the Herald-News. (More Krokodil stories.)

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