MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A new flesh-eating drug called "Krokodil" has started showing up in the Midwest as five people in Illinois have sought treatment after injecting the substance.
Medical professionals say it's only a matter of time before the drug surfaces in the Milwaukee area.
Many who end up using the drug believe they are getting heroin, however Krokodil is a knockoff made from codeine and either gasoline or butane.
Doctors say the synthetic opiate rots users' skin from the inside out, starting with green, scaly wounds resembling crocodile skin.
"If you want to kill yourself, this is the way to do it," said Dr. Abhin Singla of Provena St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois.
One of the five Krokodil users who visited Dr. Singla's office in the past week was a 25-year-old woman who remains in intensive care.
"She had gangrene patches over 70 to 80% of her lower legs," explained Dr. Singla. "By the time she was done you could see muscle and tissue and bone exposed."
Earlier this month, the drug made an appearance in Arizona and Utah. Addictions specialists in Milwaukee are worried about how quickly the drug is spreading.
"If something comes by that's cheaper for them, that will give them the same high or a higher high, they're going to try it and even with one try of Krokodil, it can destroy you," said Patricia Gutierrez, Impact Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Director.
Counselors in Milwaukee plan to warn their clients about the new drug and how it can maim and kill users very quickly.
Krokodil is three times more powerful than heroin at a fraction of the cost.