McHenry County patient ‘injected Krokodil’
From Submitted Reports October 15, 2013 5:08PM
Updated: November 17, 2013 6:30AM
CRYSTAL LAKE — Centegra Health System is warning area residents about the street narcotic known as “Krokodil,” which physicians believe has made its way to McHenry County.
Pronounced “crocodile,” the drug is an opioid that causes its users’ skin to turn scaly and green. Eventually, the skin can rot and fall off, causing life-threatening damage. The drug can be made from commonly found ingredients including gasoline, according to published reports.
“This drug is a serious concern because it is often injected by people who use intravenous heroin,” Dr. Paul Berkowitz, a psychiatrist with Centegra Physician Care, said in a release from Centegra. “The patient we are treating is an IV drug user who has large skin lesions that have led us to believe the drug that was injected is Krokodil.”
Berkowitz and his fellow physician colleagues are concerned, he said, because there is growing abuse of IV heroin in McHenry County. Because Krokodil is less expensive than heroin, he fears hospitals may see more patients who have serious injuries from the drug.
“People should know that if they use this drug, they are placing themselves at serious risk of injury and even death,” Berkowitz said. “The symptoms are obvious. If a person has open lesions or sees the characteristic scaly and green skin changes, he should seek treatment immediately. By using this drug, people are injecting a poison.”
To combat McHenry County’s ongoing heroin problem, Centegra Health System and other agencies are working together to curb the drug’s use in the county. The McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition will hold a community meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the McHenry County College auditorium.
Since last summer, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police Narcotics Division and Intelligence Led Policing Unit have launched 34 separate heroin investigations, netting 25 arrests and the seizure of more than 75 grams of heroin. Chicago’s gang-related drug trade drives McHenry County’s heroin problem, which has been an increasing problem the past three years, according to police. There were 52 heroin deaths in McHenry County from 2009 to 2012, according to the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.
More information on Centegra Health System is available at centegra.org, by searching Centegra Health System on Facebook and Twitter, or calling 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).