For more information, call: 877-CENTEGRA

News: Centegra warns public about ‘Krokodil’ narcotic; invites community to meeting

Centegra Health System warns 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, says a recent news article in TIME.

“This drug is a serious concern because it is often injected by people who use intravenous heroin,” said Dr. Paul Berkowitz, a psychiatrist with Centegra Physician Care. “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 invites everyone to be a part of the solution. A community meeting will be conducted from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 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 and it 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.

Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the health care needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Physician Care Centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and the highly anticipated Centegra Hospital-Huntley.

As the region’s leading health care provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community. For more information on Centegra Health System visit centegra.org, search Centegra Health System on Facebook and Twitter or call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).