Flakka: New Street Drug Ravaging South Florida


A new designer drug has hit the streets of South Florida and it isn’t your usual bath salts nor is it kratom. We aren’t talking about Krokodil either, guess again.

We are talking about one drug that is being thrown at kids basically for free. Flakka.

What Is Flakka?

Flakka is the “cool” new, remix, of the constantly evolving and adapting drug trade that has dealers finding new “legal” mixes made of newly created chemical compounds that just haven’t been banned yet.

Narcotics officers say Flakka looks like a cross between crack cocaine, and meth, and that it has a very unique, sweaty smell to it.  It actually is, the latest street version of bath salts, a form of crystal meth often concocted in labs overseas and sold over the Internet. It also goes by the name of gravel, and it can be injected, smoked or snorted. It is a crystalline substance that looks a lot like meth or crack.

Though not made locally, Flakka worries law enforcement officers and drug experts because it tends to cause not just the usual euphoria but also paranoia, combativeness, and psychosis—not a good mixture. The high usually wears off after a couple of hours and the urge to use it again, is surprise, surprise, very intense.

The chemical compound, identified through laboratory testing as alpha-PVP, looks and induces behavior similar to crystal meth, said Yanet Gattorno, a forensic chemist with the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The BSO crime lab has seen more than 100 cases where submitted material tested positive for alpha-PVP since February, she said Narcotics officers have known that Flakka was gaining foothold. It started in Broward County and has worked its way up to a Ft. Pierce nightclub, and in the process has hit Palm Beach.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has seen more than 20 cases of alpha-PVP in the past year, coming in as “either powder or crystal that was loose in bags or in capsules,” said Barbera, the agency’s spokeswoman.

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