Flakka: A New and Deadly Drug Sweeping S.W. Florida
Flakka is A New and Deadly Drug Sweeping S.W. Florida Streets. The drug is popular among teenagers and young adults, is easily accessible and dangerous. Flakka is believed to have come out of Miami and has spread to other counties of south Florida. Police report that the drug made its grand entrance a few years ago in S.W. Florida.
The drug is highly addictive and causes extreme aggression, psychosis, an elevated heart rate and elevated blood pressure. It also produces sweating from a rise in bodily temperature that is sometimes as high as 105 degrees. Flakka causes bizarre and uncontrollable behavior in its users. In Fort Lauderdale, one man impaled himself while trying to climb over a fence and another tried to break down the front door of the police precinct. Police report that users of Flakka are in a state of delirium and have a super-human strength that requires four to five officers to restrain them.
Flakka, also called gravel on the street, can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected. Sometimes it is used with other drugs, which addicts call “snacking”. The effects of Flakka can last from three hours to several days. It causes the brain to be flooded with dopamine causing a strong sensation of euphoria. Usually the dopamine returns to its original neuron but with Flakka, this process is blocked. The drug is typically made from the chemical alpha-PVP, which is a synthetic drug akin to the amphetamine cathinone. Cathinone is a stimulant derived from the Khat plant that grows in the Middle East and Somalia.
The cathinone in Flakka can cause rhabdomyolysis, which is the melting away of muscle tissue. The muscle tissue is released into the bloodstream and can cause kidney failure and the need of lifelong dialysis support. The drug rivals the strongest cocaine and crystal meth yet is much more potent. The Flakka being sold on the street is most often not pure but mixed with other deadly chemicals such as Raid, the poisonous pesticide. Users are playing Russian roulette by taking the drug because they never know what it is actually made with.
China and Korea are producing Flakka and other cathinone drugs that they are selling to drug dealers online in America. The drug can be purchased for a few thousand dollars, sold on the street for $5.00 a hit and have a street market return of tens of thousands of dollars. Drug addiction is a lucrative business and Flakka is adding to the problem. The new designer drugs are lab-created modifications of existing chemical structures.
The synthetic drugs are more potent and dangerous than most illegal drugs. Users try to get around drug screening tests by using designer drugs because the compounds are unfamiliar. These synthetic drugs are also causing havoc in hospital emergency rooms because the doctors do not know what they are dealing with. Hospital personnel have been utilizing the services of Poison Control Centers for help in determining the chemicals in this new drug and treating the patient.
Designer drugs are the new cutting edge tools of drug abuse and addiction. The manufacturers of these drugs are marketing them in innovative ways to get around existing drug laws. They will use labels that say “Not for human consumption” and are selling the drugs as bath salts, spices and plant food among other things.
Drug abuse and addiction has entered a new and deadly phase in S.W. Florida. Deaths from the use of Flakka have surpassed deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. To try and curtail the problem of Flakka addiction, S.W. Florida Police Departments have been warning the public about the dangers of the drug and its popular use among the young through message campaigns, social media, news, etc., in hopes of saving lives.