What is Flakka?
Flakka is a new “designer” drug, hitting the streets with a vengeance. Flakka, also known as “gravel,” began it’s fury in approximately 2013. This year, 2015, the drug is gaining equally in momentum and destruction. Flakka costs $5 per vial. It is made from a combination of a synthetic amphetamine like bath salts and ecstasy. It might also be cut or combined with crack cocaine or heroin. The active ingredient in Flakka is alpha-PVP, a chemical compound that is on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances and most likely to be abused. Flakka can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected. Flakka is usually sold in a crystal form and smoked in electronic cigarettes without leaving an odor.
Why would people use Flakka?
The attraction to Flakka includes the classification of the drug as a “synthetic drug” which makes it a drug that can be altered with minor changes making it more difficult to detect on drug tests. Young drug users are attracted to the ability to smoke the drug through a vapor, as well as the low cost of Flakka. The drug’s reputation of an “insane high” and the wild or bizarre scenarios reported by drug users is another attraction to the drug, especially with teenagers.
What are the officials saying?
The primary focus of authorities regarding Flakka, is the dangerous side effects of the drug, which include violent episodic behaviors, feeling invincible and unstoppable, hallucinations and bizarre and unpredictable behaviors, and memory loss or blackouts of the person under the influence of Flakka. Police officers, friends, and family members of people using Flakka, often report being unsafe and in violent and unpredictable situations, when encountering someone under the influence of Flakka.
Police have reported bizarre incidents in which drug users are endangering themselves and others while using Flakka. Reports include incidents such as a man running naked through a neighborhood trying to have sex with a tree, while reporting he was a Greek God, and became violent when he was approached and asked to refrain from his behaviors, a man reporting that he was being chased by a gang rendering him impaled as he attempted to jump a chain link fence, another man reported he was being chased by unknown assailants, while two other people tried to break into a police station.
For family of potential drug users, professionals in addiction treatment and mental health therapy, other professionals, authorities, friends and family members of drug users should take time to familiarize themselves with the facts about Flakka, understand the behaviors associated with the drug, and be prepared to seek help if a loved one is under the influence of Flakka or is struggling with addiction to it. Addiction treatment is a solution for many drug users and their families, as a means to end addiction and live a life of sobriety and recovery, free of drugs.