In April 2015, a man attempted to break down the door of the police headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. He tried to convince police officers that he was being pursued by numerous cars and asked for their help. When he failed to break down the door, the man, showing phenomenal strength, started throwing big rocks to break the building’s hurricane-proof glass. In another incident, a man identifying himself as God was caught committing a lewd act with a tree. Attempts by the police to deter him with electroshock weapons were futile, as the man tried to use an officer’s own badge to attack him.
Bizarre as they may seem, the incidents mentioned above are after-effects of a dangerous synthetic drug called flakka. Also known as ‘gravel’ due to its pink or white crystals, flakka is potentially more dangerous than cocaine. The name flakka stems from ‘la flaca’, which in Spanish denotes an attractive woman. It is chemically similar to the banned bath salt drugs. Flakka can be smoked, swallowed, dissolved in liquid, injected or inhaled through vaporization.
What makes flakka more dangerous than cocaine?
Although flakka produces effects similar to those of cocaine, it is potentially more dangerous. It is inexpensively and easily available. A typical dose of flakka, which is one-tenth of a gram, can be purchased for $4 to $5. Allegedly, bulk of the drug’s source is China and can be bought online, through dealers or at fuel pumps.
Even a small overdose of flakka can lead to severe complications, including death. One of the potent side effects of flakka is a state of ‘excited delirium’, which may be characterized by paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, violent behavior and very high body temperature. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has cautioned that the bloodstream absorbs flakka very quickly when it is smoked, thereby increasing the chances of an overdose.
Unlike cocaine, the effects of flakka may last from one to seven hours, but neurological impacts could last a lifetime. It interferes with or inhibits the ability of the body to control mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters. Very high body temperature causes muscle tissues to break down, which can lead to kidney complications. Stroke and heart attack are other potential dangers due to unusually high heart rates in the delirious state.
According to Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, “It’s a very dangerous drug because it has so many side effects, and it doesn’t require a long-term history of frequent abuse of this drug to get these symptoms.” Jim Hall, an epidemiologist at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, says, “It’s so difficult to control the exact dose (of flakka). Just a little bit of difference in how much is consumed can be the difference between getting high and dying. It’s that critical.”
Controlling misuse of flakka
In early 2014, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) temporarily banned flakka. China went a step ahead and banned the drug in 2015. While the DEA authorities are hopeful that curbing the supply at its origin may impact the drug flow into the U.S., the situation is more critical. Drug manufacturers evade the ban by falsely showing that the drug is not intended for human consumption. According to Lucas Watterson, a postdoctoral researcher at Temple University School of Medicine Center for Substance Abuse Research, “The problem is when one of these drugs is banned or illegal, the drug manufacturer responds by producing a number of different alternatives. It’s sort of a flavor of the month.”
Till an effective solution is found to curb the misuse of synthetic and prescription drugs, extra caution needs to be exercised. It is advisable to seek immediate medical help in case an individual is suffering from addiction or habitual dependence on drugs. One can enroll in a detox center that can help in removing all the toxins accumulated in the body due to a prolonged use of the drug.
If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs and is looking for treatment, the Florida Detox Helpline can help you get in touch with one of the best Florida drug detox facilities in your vicinity. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-920-9869 or chat online with our representatives to get more information on the finest detox center in Florida providing specialized treatment to ensure safe and comfortable detoxification.