There’s a new drug on the streets, particularly in Florida. Similar to bath salts in regards to the health and emotional effects it causes and the rapid rate in which it’s gaining in popularity, this synthetic drug being ordered from and imported from China is making a lot of headlines: Flakka.
That’s what it’s normally called, anyways. But Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says that in other areas it’s also referred to as “gravel”. Either in powder or small crystals, users can consume it in many ways. They use a vaporizer to inhale it, snort it or even inject it. The effects can not only lead to hallucinations and delusions, but can also cause body temperature to skyrocket to dangerously high levels.
What exactly is flakka? Actually it’s a synthetic stimulant called alpha-PVP that has been banned since 2014 in the US. But it’s not hard to come by. One can simply jump on the internet and order it almost as easily as ordering a pair of shoes or a video game on Amazon or Ebay.
On top of that, it’s super cheap and many refer to it as “$5 insanity” Because it’s easy to order and it’s so cheap, it’s extremely important for parents to know about this drug and talk to children about it. Parents should closely monitor online activities, especially if there’s even the tiniest bit of chance they think their child may be using or interested in drugs.
South Florida has seen an alarmingly increase in the use of this dangerous synthetic drug. But use will probably become more widespread since it’s so easy to acquire. I asked Broward Detox about flakka and here’s what they had to say…
Have You Seen Any New Cases Involving Flakka?
A.: Actually, we just spoke with a father who called looking to get help for his son who was addicted to flakka. The father was beside himself. He had never heard of it until a friend of his son’s finally came clean. He thought his friend was in danger and wanted to help. The father couldn’t find his son, his cell phone had been shut off, and he had been disappearing from the house for days at a time. It’s a drug that not a lot of people know much about; it’s one of those new, synthetic compounds (specifically, a stimulant) that people are making in their garages. It raises your core body temperature to as high as 106 degrees Fahrenheit, causing people to rip their clothes off and run around the streets naked, often becoming extremely violent. These are the cases we are seeing on the news here in Florida. The unfortunate fact is that a lot of people are trying this and they seem to become very addicted, very QUICKLY.
Do you foresee a larger problem with flakka?
A.: Yes, we are seeing more and more of this in Broward County, Florida. In fact, I witnessed it first hand with a friend who struggled with an addiction to ecstasy and cocaine in the past. She relapsed after several years of being clean and ended up using flakka. She fell hard and fast, hitting bottoms she hadn’t hit before. I won’t get into details but it’s something she wasn’t proud of. It is devastating to watch a girl who came from a good family, with a large group of friends to literally become homeless in less than six months. The main issue here is that it’s generally very cheap and easy to come by. This makes it extremely dangerous.