South Florida’s War on Flakka
Flakka, a new designer drug, is wreaking havoc in South Florida and also hitting some other States in the U.S. It is most popular among teenagers and young adults and is highly addictive and easily accessible. The drug is marketed on the internet from China, where it is legal and classified as a research chemical, and arrives via mail to the purchaser. It is advertised as bath salts, spices etc. and is labeled “not for human consumption” to get around existing U.S. drug laws.
South Florida’s War on Flakka
A $1,500.00 investment in Flakka has a street market return on investment of $50,000.00. Flakka, which is “la flaca” in Spanish, means pretty woman. It is also called “gravel” on the street and it can be purchased very cheaply for $5.00 a hit. The drug can be smoked, snorted, swallowed, injected or vaped. Flakka is not sold pure but it is often mixed with other deadly and poisonous chemicals. It is more potent than crystal meth and cocaine.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Flakka
The new laboratory created designer drugs are made from existing chemical structures. They are more potent and deadlier than in the natural form. The compounds in these drugs are harder to identify, making it more difficult for hospital emergency room personnel to treat a patient high on Flakka. The drug is also very hard to identify in drug-screening tests. Flakka is a synthetic drug made from the chemical alpha-PVP. It is akin to the amphetamine cathinone, which is a stimulant. The cathinone in Flakka causes the melting away of muscle tissue. The muscle tissue is then released into the blood stream and can cause kidney failure, resulting in the lifetime need of dialysis support. Flakka also creates sweating and hyperthermia causing the bodily temperature to rise, sometimes up to 105 degrees. It also elevates the heart rate and blood pressure.
Flakka floods the brain with dopamine and causes an intense feeling of euphoria. The drug blocks the dopamine from returning to its original neuron, making its euphoric effects last longer in the brain. First-time users will have symptoms that last from three to four days before they return to a normal state of mind. Repeated use of the drug will cause symptoms to last from 14 to 16 days before the drug wears off.
Flakka users will exhibit extreme aggression and psychosis. They will experience a mental state of delirium and display bizarre and uncontrollable behavior. Users are said to have super-human strength and it has been reported that up to five men have been needed to control and apprehend them. The victims of Flakka will exhibit paranoia, ultra-violent rage and running and screaming. The news in Florida reported a case of a twenty year old girl on Flakka who suffered symptoms similar to a stroke or brain bleeding. Now she cannot talk, walk or recognize anyone. Another seventeen year old girl was found naked and running through the streets covered in blood. She was screaming, ? “I am God, I am Satan”. It is also not uncommon for users of Flakka to hallucinate and think that they are being hunted down by other people or chased by wild animals.
The War on Flakka
Surrounded by water on three sides, Florida is a popular point of entry for cocaine, heroin and marijuana from Central and South America. The State has a history of having the highest drug abuse rate in the U.S.
Now Florida is being over-run by violent crimes being committed by people high on Flakka, according to local news. The Broward County Police Department is being equipped with field-detection kits and they are training special units to observe the behavior of people for symptoms of Flakka. Trained sniffer dogs are being used at U.S. Postal facilities. Flakka use is on the rise and police departments and medical professionals are warning the public about the dangers of this cheap and deadly drug. Eighteen recent deaths related to Flakka use have been reported and there have been one hundred and twenty-six deaths total since 2013. The War on Flakka is very real in South Florida and with the increase of this drug being seen in other States, it is crucial to educate the public on its risks and dangers.