Just the other day I had the experience of seeing someone first hand on this stuff. He was running naked down the street like a mad man. I didn’t take a video because I know if it had been me I would of woken up or “come to,” day or hours later and been humiliated, ashamed, and just depressed and to see a bunch of videos of me later on—well do unto others as you would have them do to you (or something like that.) The guy I saw running down Broward Boulevard naked was on Flakka. He’s an addict. He needs help. That is why I am just going to write an informative article about it not about him.
How Long Has Flakka Been On Florida Streets?
This isn’t necessarily a new drug to hit streets but it is newer and it can cause some pretty scary side effects. Here is the news.
Like bath salts before it, a new synthetic designer street drug called flakka, known as gravel nationwide, is unleashing maniacal paranoia, rage and delirium on South Florida’s streets.
Since January, flakka has given rise to a naked gunman on a Lake Worth rooftop, a man trying to kick in a glass door at the Fort Lauderdale police station, another who impaled himself when he attempted to scale a security fence at the Fort Lauderdale station because he was trying to escape murderers, and yet another who left a trail of blood after attacking an 82-year-old Riviera Beach woman in her home.
“Longtime addicts who have tried flakka, they’re terrified of it,” said Don Maines, a treatment counselor for Broward Sheriff’s Office community programs and vice president of the Broward Addiction Recovery Center’s advisory board. “They can’t think straight, they’re paranoid, they think people are chasing them. One guy thought he was surrounded by German shepherds that were attacking him.”
James West told police he was high on flakka when he tried to kick in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s lobby door.
Flakka occurrences are rising at an alarming rate, with Florida crime labs analyzing zero flakka cases in 2010, 85 in 2012 and more than 670 in 2014, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
To combat the rising tide, South Florida law enforcement agencies are training their officers how to identify people high on flakka, creating task forces and linking arms with local and federal agencies.
An illegal, controlled substance, flakka comes in a crystalline rock form and can be smoked, snorted, swallowed in capsules or injected. It can sell for as cheap as $5 a hit, and its effects can last from three hours to three days.
One user branded it “$5 insanity,” Maines said. “This is as bad as it gets.”
How Flakka Effects The Mind And Body
By all accounts, it causes delirium, delusions and hallucinations, incites violent fits, nightmarish visions, belligerence and aggression and saddles its users with seemingly superhuman strength.
Flakka is largely concocted in labs in China, India and Pakistan, and is bought in bulk online by low-level dealers who repackage it in gram-size packets or capsules and brand it with a catchy street name. It can end up mixed with heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department has created a task force, known as the Flakka Initiative, to work with local offices and other agencies, including the city of Hollywood, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Service, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Coffin said.
And within the next month, the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition will launch a website —dontbeaguineapig.com — dedicated to the latest information about designer drugs.
“It’s so we can have a source of information that can hopefully keep up as they’re created and designed and released,” Lee said. “You don’t know what’s in them and you don’t know what’s going to happen when you put them in your body. It’s like playing Russian roulette.”
It’s called flakka in Florida, but is known as “gravel” nationwide.
What is it? It is a designer drug containing the chemical compound alpha-PVP, a highly addictive synthetic stimulant.
What does it look like? Crystalline rocks
Where does it come from? It’s made in labs overseas and sold to dealers over the Internet.
How is it taken? It can be snorted, smoked in joints, pipes or e-cigarettes, swallowed in capsules or injected.
Side effects include hallucinations, psychosis, paranoia, anxiety, aggression and combativeness.