Drug Use Trends & The Dangers: Flakka
Drug use trends show synthetic drugs on the rise. By now, many of you have heard about the synthetic designer drug “Flakka”, or, “Gravel” as it’s known in many parts of the country because of its white crystal chunks that have been compared to aquarium gravel. Flakka drug use has been spreading across Florida, leaving horrific stories in its trail.
One drug use trends report claims that a man who broke down the hurricane proof doors to a police department later admitted to being high on the drug. Another police report stated that a woman “ran down a neighborhood street screaming that she was Satan” while under the influence of Flakka. While the drug is supposed to produce a similar effect to cocaine, the dangers lie in the uncertainty within the dosages and the other foreign elements that are mixed with the drug during its development. Per South Florida Epidemiologist Jim Hall, even a small overdose of Flakka, which can be smoked, injected, or snorted, can lead to a variety of extreme symptoms, ranging from wild psychotic episodes marked by violent, super-human behavior, to spikes in body temperature and paranoia.
Flakka is Spanish slang for a skinny, beautiful woman (“la flaca”). However, this synthetic drug and beautiful women have nothing in common. The synthetic drug contains a chemical that is a close cousin of the key ingredient in “bath salts”. These chemicals destroy your body by sticking to molecules on the surface of the neurons that are responsible for keeping your levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, in check. These foreign chemicals flood your brain and create mood altering effects that last much longer that cocaine and other methamphetamines.
Although a Flakka high typically lasts several hours, there have been cases where the neurological effects were permanent. Cocaine is another drug that wreaks terrible havoc on your body’s systems, and because flakka, like bath salts, hangs around in body for much longer than cocaine, the extent of the potential destruction could be even greater. Another serious, potentially long term side effect of using flakka is its effect on your kidneys. As a result of hyperthermia, which is an increase in body temperature due to the body’s inability to internally regulate its core temperature, the drug causes your muscles to break down, and this takes a tremendous toll on your kidneys. Some survivors of flakka overdoses end up on dialysis for the rest of their lives.
The drug was finally banned in China over the summer and authorities have already seen a decline in Flakka associated reported cases. However, the problem with permanently getting rid of these drugs from our communities is that Chinese manufacturers can simply manipulate certain molecules, and that change is significant enough for the drug to pass through customs by a different chemical name. This ends up creating an even more dangerous game played by these manufacturers of who can quickly develop the new “Flavor of the Month”, because at the end of the day it’s all about money for them. They could care less about whether or not the drug is harmful and view its American consumers almost as their test subjects, or guinea pigs, to a certain extent.
We hope that you all paid close attention to the life altering effects that this drug use trend can have on your body and your future. With similar psychological side effects as “bath salts”, Flakka is nothing to play around with and has been at the center of numerous horror stories across the state. From the eating of people’s faces, to the Incredible Hulk-like destruction of public property from its users, Flakka has shown to be an uncontrollable synthetic drug that can have detrimental effects on the human brain and psychological well-being. Remember to take the pledge and BTRU2U!