Flakka, a new designer drug, has started a sweep across the United States, concentrated initially in southern Florida but moving rapidly to the Midwest and beyond. Authorities in Texas and Ohio have reported incidences of criminal activity involving the drug, which is a form of bath salt. Flakka poses a particularly high threat because of its inconsistency and its easy accessibility. Users can purchase flakka online at a low cost. By the time it makes its way to the streets from suspected suppliers in China, Pakistan and India, it may be cut with poison and other toxic substances, such as methamphetamine. Users have no way of knowing what they may be ingesting. Law enforcement officials and medical professionals are continuing investigations into where and how flakka is being made.
Popular Synthetic Causes Bizarre Behavior
Flakka, increasingly popular with young Americans, particularly those who are impoverished, is a synthetic stimulant also known as “gravel” because of its chunky consistency resembling small crystal pebbles. News reporters have labeled it “the insanity drug” because of the bizarre behavior induced by its use. In one incident, a man under the influence of flakka tried to kick in the door at a Florida police station, and in another, a man ran naked through the streets, believing someone had stolen his clothes. Flakka, resembling the effects of the khat plant grown in Somalia and parts of the Middle East, creates a state of euphoria and a feeling of invincibility. These sensations result in hallucinations of super-human strength. Based on the Spanish word “flaco,” which means “skinny,” flakka lives up to its name by causing weight loss and general deterioration of the brain and body. Some users have suffered brain bleeds, kidney failure and strokes. Because of the extreme dangers of flakka, officials want to increase public awareness.