CHICAGO (CBS) — A family that has spent years shooting heroin together is now suffering together, after apparently injecting a flesh-eating street drug known as krokodil.
Lockport resident Kimberly Neitzel admits she’s a heroin addict. So are her two daughters; 26-year-old Amber, and 29-year-old Angie.
WBBM Newsradio’s Veronica Carter reports Kimberly and her daughters thought they were shooting up heroin, but it was actually krokodil, the nickname for a heroin-like drug that can cause deadly gangrene infections that rot the skin from the inside out.
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.
Kimberly said she and her daughters didn’t know what they were taking.
“When you think it’s heroin, that’s one thing, but when you think it’s gasoline, and stuff like that, no way,” she said.
Kimberly quit before realizing what they were taking, and said she’s done after developing a small spot on her leg, and seeing her daughters suffer very serious infections.
“Now I’ll never stick another needle in myself ever, as long as I live. I will never, ever,” she said.
Kimberly said her daughter Amber was the first to notice black blisters on her legs.
“Amber stopped shooting in her legs a little over a month ago, because it was making black spots everywhere,” she said.
Angela was just released from the hospital, after undergoing emergency surgery to save her legs. Amber has gangrene infections on both legs and arms.
Kimberly said she hopes she and her daughters caught the infections in time.
“Don’t ever start it. Don’t ever do it one time, ever. I never thought I would ever use. It took away everything that I loved. It is the most powerful thing I’ve ever came up against,” she said.
Kimberly said she’s been an addict for at least 10 years, but has been heroin-free for two weeks, and hopes this will make her daughters kick the habit, too.
“I can’t watch them 24 hours. They say that they’re not using,” she said.
The life expectancy of a Krokodil addict is only two years. It became popular in Russia because of a heroin shortage, and have cases popped up in the U.S., including five in Illinois.