Dr. James Hughes of the Cove Center for Recovery drug rehab talked about a potential flakka attack and it’s impact on our youth. The Cove’s CEO was a guest on The Hard Line with Ed Berliner of Newsmax. And the topic was: “The prevalence of powerful drugs in America.” The show’s theme was in response to last week’s news when allegedly a 19-year-old college student viciously murdered a married couple. After the homicide, he proceeded to bite the face of one of the victims.
While the double homicide had all the signs of a flakka attack or bath salts induced murder it is too early to forecast. It is important to note that a similar incident involving a man attacking a homeless person took place on the Miami Beach causeway five-years ago. So The Hard Line wanted to learn why young people commit such atrocities while on synthetic drugs like flakka. And who better to explain than two noted addiction experts: Dr. Hughes has been directing and managing mental health and addiction programs for over 25-years. And Thomas Gagliano is an expert in addiction and what is behind it.
Florida possible Flakka Attack 911 Call
911 Caller: “Young man beating up a woman across the street.”
911: “Okay are they outside or in a house?”
911 Caller: “In a garage?” (Caller breathing heavy)
911: “Okay can you tell if he has any weapons.”
The 911 Caller: “Um I think he had a knife, but I am not positive.”
911: “Okay can you tell if he is injured or she is injured?”
911 Caller: “Yes there is a girl laying on the ground. He beat her up. I ran over there and I am bleeding profusely here alone. I don’t know what happens.”
911: “Okay what type of injuries do you have?”
911 Caller: “I have been stabbed in the back.”
“We are a nation of addicts”
“We are a nation of addicts and we must accept that our youth is being addicted and killed by drugs,” said Ed Berliner of Newsmax. “Our youth are using drugs that we never viewed as dangerous. And perhaps we need to change our attitudes and learn about these killers before they take away anymore of our future leaders.”
One such drug is flakka – a designer drug that is made from a chemical similar to bath salts. Furthermore, many consider the drug to be a mild amphetamine. More importantly, it has swept across Florida like a purple haze of potential death the likes of which experts have not seen in decades.
Flakka subject of Double Homicide
Authorities say the street drug flakka is being considered as the source of the heinous crime. There is no doubt investigators will be puzzling over it for some time. After Austin Harrouff, a Florida State (FSU) student was accused in a face-biting double homicide. The victims were a Martin County couple which took place outside of their home. And Harrouff according to sources just didn’t commit murder. He is being accused of turning cannibal on one of the victims after a knife attack.
Flakka has swept across Florida like a purple haze of potential death the likes of which experts have not seen in decades.
Ed Berliner, host of Newsmax The Hard Line
Deputies say when the police arrived, the killer was on top of one of the victims biting one of the victims face. Police say it took multiple deputies, a taser, and a police K-9 to subdue the “abnormally strong” teen.
Cove Center’s Dr. Hughes interviewed by Newsmax
Here is the transcript from the Newsmax television interview with Dr. James Hughes. He has been directing and managing mental health and addiction programs for over 25 years. Hughes was joined by Thomas Gagliani, an expert in the world of addiction.
The Hard Line: A young man from Martin County gets up from a restaurant and walks three miles, attacks a husband and wife. They had to taser him. They had to try and take him off the individuals that he was killing. He bit the flesh from the face from one of the victims as the victim lay in the driveway. They had to use a dog to drag him off the attacker. What is happening here? We have seen this before. But where is this coming from? Does this seem like a flakka attack?
Dr. Hughes: It is too early to tell if it was in fact a flakka attack. But to give you an understanding about flakka it is an inexpensive drug. It can be bought for roughly three to five dollars. And what happens is that it leads people to an excited delirium level. At this point they become mentally supercharged in their own mind. In a sense they depersonalize. Basically, they step out of their body. So what happens is that they can’t focus on what they are doing and can slip into a violent rage.
The Hard Line: There also was oddly enough one of these cannibal attacks on Miami Beach a couple of years ago. Obviously we are looking at a drug here that is doing this to people. But are we looking at a certain type of person. Maybe we might be able to tell who could be susceptible to this in the future? Surprisingly, this kid didn’t show any signs at all.
Thomas Gagliano: Absolutely, there are two problems here. First, we have to stop this stuff from coming in to hurt our kids and teenagers. But here is the other problem. If a kid grows up with negative core beliefs and a negative self-worth, he or she is going to look for something to make them feel bigger, stronger, better, or smarter. And parents have to cultivate a society where our children can grow up with integrity and self-esteem. They won’t if we give them a message that they are not good enough. Or they are failures.
The Hard Line: There really is no way to stop this from coming in. Because some of these are legal drugs like bath salts that we are talking about. And many of these drugs are made right here in America in garages. So Dr. Hughes what can we can do? Should we be more attentive as parents. Although parents don’t see this all the time and it is killing kids. Some of the kids are coming from good backgrounds. So what can we look for?
Dr. Hughes: We need to be aware of certain signs and symptoms. Like in areas of excessive and extreme levels of anger and short attention span. And before you know it they process situations internally to such a level that they create this inner level of anger. So what happens at that point is that the young adult will act out in rage. Consequently, they think that nothing can happen to them. So parents need to maintain control over their teens as well as young adults.
The Hard Line: So what are these kids so angry about?
Gagliano: First off, you have to know the mindset of a child. For instance, children are egocentric. And when mom and dad are working all the time confusion sets in. As a result a child thinks what is the matter with me. They wonder why dad and mom don’t pay attention to them and that’s the key.
The Hard Line: And how do they get to this level of thinking? For example, my parents worked all the time when I was a kid and I didn’t take it as any kind of slight.
Gagliano: Right, but someone had to give you the time to tell you that you were important. If someone does not tell you that you are important herein lies the issue. At least parents should be asking how’s school or how are your friends? If we don’t have parents that pay attention to their teens they develop this negative sense of self worth. And if I am not important to my parents then who am I important to?
The Hard Line: So where do we go from here? Flakka is growing. It is across Florida. And it is cutting across the United States right now. So what do we do?
Dr. Hughes: Given the situation, what we need to look at is supporting the parents. And having the teen develop an area of interest that is meaningful to them. Once again I understand that this 19-year-old is involved in sports. However, what happens is parents need to continue providing that support and increase their teenagers self-esteem. With the effects of other drugs out there like marijuana they becomes a gateway drug. For many of these teens it can lead up to a more dangerous drug like flakka.
The Hard Line: Do you believe marijuana is a gateway drug?
Dr. Hughes: Yes sir. After being in the field for about 30-years most of my patients tell me they start out with marijuana or alcohol first. And then graduated to something more serious.
The Hard Line: In the end it is all about leadership and talking to your kids.