Miami, Florida – A new designer drug is sold in many streets of Florida, Ohio and Texas, and police authorities worry that it’s starting to spread across the country. The said new synthetic drug is associated with recent cases of uncontrollable, bizarre behavior from its users.
Last month, a man rushes out his Miami home, screaming violently and stripping his clothes off, while being chased by five police officers, who are required to take him down, as he displays superhuman strength.
Amphetamine-stimulant, Flakka is the new synthetic or designer drug that is part of the currently booming business of legal highs in the United States.
It is made from alpha-PVP, the synthetic version of cathinone (a type of chemical derived from the plant “khat” that grows widely in Somalia and in the Middle East and that is chewed for its euphoric effect). It can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected, combined with softer drugs, such as Marijuana or sometimes used for snacking (*Taking additional flakka while still high).
Flakka works like amphetamine and immediately increases the dopamine or “pleasure chemical” in the brain, making users alert and euphoric, but suffer from ‘excited delirium,” a condition when the body’s temperature can go up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (hyperthermia).
Flakka’s physiological effects lead to a surge of violence linked to increased strength but lost of awareness of the surroundings and of reality.
Suppliers are mainly from India, China and Pakistan, one factor that should worry users, authorities said, because they don’t know what could be inside each package when already sold in the streets and by lower end suppliers on the web. The new drug can be repackaged into capsules or be available for vaping, making it convenient to use even in public.
The same class of chemicals used in manufacturing bath salts, “cathinones,” according to Jim Hall, an epidemiologist working at Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities (Broward County), would become a more potent drug class when Molly (MDMA), which has been linked to a number of deaths, leaves off.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration revealed that cases linked to Flakka use are dramatically increasing from ‘non-documented’ cases in 2010, 85 (2012) to 670 (2014).
Photo credit: Medical Daily