Flakka The $5 Insanity Drug Slated to Create a Culture of Psychosis
May 01, 2018
The '70s produced some of the darkest most sinister hit movies in modern times. Remember The Exorcist and The Omen? These movies depicted possessed characters with superhuman strength, and a penchant for violent attacks…not to mention the head spinning, weird gestures and sounds that negated any semblance of humanity. It was unadulterated, bone-chilling, terrifying theatrics. Hollywood cashed in on this madness and its pure display of darkness and insanity.
Nearly 40 years later, these same dark and sinister dramatics have hit city streets in the South and even the Midwest. But this time the cameras and lights are shelved. The actors are real. And the screenplay has been replaced with candid videos taken by passersby or police video cam. The antagonist is a designer drug called Flakka, also known on the streets as “gravel” because the designer drug looks like aquarium gravel. It’s referred to as a designer drug because it is synthetic (unnatural, man-made), and its inherent makeup purposely evades detection, making it difficult for law enforcement and other entities to detect. It comes in white or pink crystals and can be injected, smoked, snorted and vaped.
Flakka users exhibit superhuman strength, run full speed down crowded streets and highways, often butt naked. Others run full speed into moving cars, and closed glass doors and windows. Others become violent killers. Some eat human flesh, while others scream, grunt and flail uncontrollably. Flakka induced users create more than a spectacle. This ugly, dark drug emotes pure evil. Here are just a few stories…
A pair of shorts and one shoe
Flakka made its Midwest debut in 2015. The Daily Journal News reports that in Bonne Terre, Missouri, a 32-year-old man lunged himself straight through a closed glass window, headfirst, from the inside of a house and out onto the streets. When police were called on the scene, the man was running with a pair of shorts and one shoe, screaming and picking fights with inanimate objects. Reportedly, he also attacked a police car before he was finally restrained and loaded onto an EMS gurney upside down. Police Chief Doug Calvert said at one time five police officers were holding him down. Even in the ambulance, it took four medics to try and counteract the drug, two officers to restrain him, and another officer who drove. He required restraints all the way to the hospital. Calvert said the man acted “possessed.”
Calvert told the Daily Journal News that the veteran paramedics on the scene said they had never seen a drug reaction that severe in their entire careers. In an unrelated case, former Missouri narcotics investigator Jason Grellner said emergency rooms are seeing increases of flakka overdoses in Springfield. Grellner, now a safety and security manager at Mercy Hospital, is seeing users enter the ER by way of ambulance and law enforcement, having “full-blown” episodes.
Grellner told Fox News that this is causing a dangerous situation for hospitals. “The nursing and physician staffs are in danger from these patients,” he said. “There’s no blood test or urine test, no way for physicians to know what the user has actually ingested. They have to treat the patient symptomatically and monitor them constantly for their mental and physical state.” Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas are seeing flakka overdoes in hospital ERs connected to Springfield, Missouri-based Mercy Hospital.
From demonic behavior to kidney failure
A Florida teen ran through the streets screaming that she was Satan while on a flakka trip, according to a CNN report. In another report, a Florida college student on the drug randomly stabbed and killed a married couple in their home. He then gnawed at the male victim’s face. As police tried to subdue him, he grunted like an animal.
The Drug Policy Alliance calls flakka “second generation bath salts.” Flakka, which gets its name from Spanish slang for a beautiful woman (“la flaca”), contains a key ingredient found in bath salts. Its chemical name is alpha-PVP. Like most synthetic drugs, the bulk of flakka comes from China and is sold over the internet, at gas stations or by street dealers for $3 to $5 a hit. According to police and federal drug officials, those who manufacture the substance try to buck the system by changing one aspect of the chemical compound so that it no longer violates the U.S.- imposed ban. Dealers target youth, poor individuals and also try to enlist homeless people to buy and sell, according to drug epidemiologists.
The chemicals in flakka block molecules on the surface of neurons that normally keep dopamine and serotonin (mood-regulating neurotransmitters) levels stable. These mood destabilizing chemicals literally flood the brain. The result is body temperature spikes, sometimes higher than 104 degrees. People who use the drug first feel euphoric, highly sociable, stimulated, and more focused. Users may also experience hallucinations, paranoia, increased strength and hyperstimulation. As the high fades, depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, and extreme violent and psychotic behaviors are common, according to drug epidemiologists.
Flakka’s popularity continues to gain momentum because it stimulates the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine – and is dirt cheap to purchase (compared with a gram of street coke which could cost about $80 on the streets). It is 10 times more powerful than coke and is popular among college-age adults.
Experts say the high is “really high,” sometimes taking days to come down, and in one noted case a full month. Drug abuse epidemiologists warn that dosage control is extremely difficult, which means that just a little bit of difference in how much is consumed can be mean death. The Mayo Clinic warns that kidney damage and failure can be side effects due to extreme body temperature spikes, as well as elevated blood pressure which could lead to heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, or even heart failure. The mental health effects are just as serious, leaving users in a zombie-like state. Law enforcement and DEA officials say this may be the beginning of another major drug epidemic with a concurrent social problem. The public is also warned to call the authorities immediately if it appears someone is having a flakka episode.
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