Flakka is a new and dangerous example of recreational designer drugs. The bottom line of a designer drug is aptly described by Dr. Bertha Madras of Harvard Medical School as “basically human experiments without consent”. Illicit labs in China are now pumping out Flakka for distribution on the US streets. It is easy to understand why designer drugs are called guinea pig drugs. No one is quite sure what is in them from batch to batch.
What is Flakka
Flakka, which also goes by the street name gravel, is a synthetic cathinone drug. Many dealers combine Flakka with amphetamines to double the effects (and increase the price). Synthetic cathinones have been around awhile. Many of these were banned in the United States as the use of cathinone-based bath salts skyrocketed. Flakka’s chemical make-up is just outside the banned version and is one reason it is beginning to make some dangerous inroads.
Ohio, Florida and Texas have each had unsettling scenarios and even deaths related to Flakka. In the last year, over 130 people have died in incidents or accidents related to Flakka.
Flakka is increasing in popularity for many reasons:
- Cheap to make
- Cheap to buy (currently around $5 on the street)
- Effects the “happy hormone” dopamine, causing a rush of euphoria, along with a burst of energy similar to amphetamines
- Can be smoked, vaped, eaten or injected
Like any drug of abuse, there are multiple downsides. Unfortunately, the negative effects of a designer drug are rarely considered in that first moment of experimentation. Flakka is highly addictive. Hallucinations, paranoia and extreme aggression frequently occur as the drug causes a build-up of released dopamine in the brain. The effects of Flakka can last from a few hours to several days. This unpredictability is a classic earmark of designer drugs.
These frightening scenarios of hallucinations and aggression are what first brought Flakka to the attention of the law enforcement and emergency departments. Two recent examples are self-impalement on a fence and kicking in the windows of a police department.
Flakka is dangerous, and it is out there. If you need help for an addiction or are concerned about someone who is using designer drugs, contact us. We have the answers and help that you need.