We’re aware of drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and meth – those names (unfortunately) make their mark in Florida news stories each day, making us more and more familiar with them. On top of that, chances are, you or someone who you know in Florida has tried, used, or abused these common drugs.
But what about the new drugs being consumed in the Sunshine State? The ones that we don’t even know about? What about the drugs that backyard and basement “chemists” are concocting by slightly tweaking formulas and bypassing legal loopholes?
Remember the crazy stories from people using baths salts in Miami? Flakka is a derivative of such a substance. It looks like small white rocks and is often colloquially referred to as gravel, based on this appearance. The main danger of flakka is how it’s created – flakka can be “cut” with something like a muscle relaxer or as extreme as something like rat poison. We simply don’t know what’s in every batch of flakka found in Florida.
Flakka is an extremely addictive stimulant that has become especially popular in South Florida, Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia. The drug can be smoked, injected, or snorted and it leads to severe hallucinations and paranoia. Prolonged use of flakka has been linked to kidney failure. Drug makers continue to tweak the ingredients in order to continue making flakka.
Thailand is home to a certain tree with leaves that can be chewed or eaten for the purpose of getting high. While illegal in Thailand, many people in that country – and now others – have continually used kratom as a means of catching a buzz. More and more countries are taking a look at this psychoactive leaf that, depending on the dosage, can act as either a stimulant or depressant. Kratom is commonly found in teas, powders, or in capsule form.
Spice is found in Florida convenience stores, online, and smoke shops all over – and with loopholes, can be sold legally. It might be marked as “legal and natural”, sold in packages with labels of “not for consumption” to ward off any law enforcement or legal issues. But many people are smoking Spice and its active ingredient is actually just a tweaked type of synthetic cannabinoid. Many chemicals found in Spice are listed as illegal substances from the DEA, but many Spice manufacturers tweak the chemicals and bypass these legal restrictions. Other common names associated with Spice are Moon Rocks, Black Mamba, and K2. Spice blends are especially dangerous because we simply don’t know all the ingredients that are present in these blends.
Vitamin K/Special K
The “K” in these names comes from ketamine, a drug that was originally made over 60 years ago as a type of veterinary anesthetic. That’s right, a drug to put animals to sleep. Is that something you really want in your system? By the 1970s, ketamine made its way into the black market. There, it eventually became “angel dust” or PCP. Today, ketamine is popular at night clubs and raves. It can be injected, poured into drinks as a liquid, converted into a powder, smoked, or snorted. In the liquid form especially, ketamine is known as a “date rape drug.” Ketamine does have a medical use for treating depression in a controlled environment.
Smiles is a new type of drug found on Florida streets that is similar to a street drug called N-bomb. Both of the drugs stem from a psychedelic drug from back in 2003 called 25I-NBOMe. The only difference in N-bomb and smiles is simply substituting one iodine atom for a chlorine atom. The technical name for this is 2C-1. It is a synthetic drug like bath salts, K2 or Spice. It is both a hallucinogen and an amphetamine. Typically, hallucinogens do not have directly dangerous overdose potential, however, due to the combination with an amphetamine, it can produce similar results as methamphetamine overdoses. Smiles comes in pill, liquid, or powder form and can lead to hallucinations, seizures, and panic attacks. It is a schedule I drug due to it’s dangerous nature and absence of use in the medical field. The drug is extremely difficult to trace in testing. By mid-2013, at least five deaths nationwide were attributed to the use of smiles. Oh, and the name of the drug, smiles, stems from the abbreviation for: “Simplified molecular-input line-entry system.”
Molly has become increasingly popular throughout the state of Florida over the last few years. It’s a refined version of Ecstasy or MDMA and many users think Molly is the safer version – even though that isn’t necessarily the case. Molly can lead to confusion, difficulties in regulating body temperature, and issues with heart rate and breathing control. In 2013 at a music festival in Washington, one person died and 15 were hospitalized in intensive care after taking Molly. It’s of low cost and therefore popular in college towns. Learn more about purity of ecstasy across the nation in our study, Festie Besties.
This is a new synthetic type of opioid that is frighteningly five times more potent than heroin. Because of its extreme potency, it was never marketed for any sort of medical use. In 2013 law enforcement started seeing the drug spring up in overdose cases, where it attributed to 14 overdose deaths in just Rhode Island alone. Dozens of more overdoses have been reported in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Louisiana. The issue is so serious that the CDC requires emergency rooms to have naloxone, an antidote to the drug and other opioid overdoses, on hand at all times.
For an updated blog on recent drug trends, read more.