It’s important for parents of teens and young adults, as well as school counselors and therapists, to be aware of new drugs that are becoming popular in our communities. We are always on the lookout for new drug trends that could potentially affect our friends and loved ones. Recently, we have seen an increased activity around new synthetic drugs called “Budder,” “Flakka” and “Kratom.”

The biggest danger posed by Budder and Flakka is that they are inhaled using the same apparatus that is used for e-cigarettes. This means that drug use can be easily concealed as it looks like the person is simply smoking a cigarette. The market for e-cigarettes is growing rapidly in South Florida. You may have noticed specialty shops popping up around town that are called “vape” shops, which is the nickname used for these vaporizer devices.

Synthetic, Designer Drugs Cause Scary Side Effects

The Sun-Sentinel and other local news outlets have recently reported an increase in cases in Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach involving both Budder and Flakka. Budder is also called “wax,” “dabs,” or “butane hash oil.” It is a very sticky substance that is made by soaking marijuana leaves and stems in butane or other chemicals. The process used to make it is very unstable, which can cause explosions, but its side effects are also very dangerous. Inhaling or “vaporizing” Budder can cause severe hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis, and heart problems.

Flakka is a bath salt synthetic stimulant that is also sometimes called “Gravel.” Vaporizing Flakka produces effects similar to smoking crystal meth, and is just as dangerous, especially since it is made overseas and sold online. Side effects of Flakka can be increased heart rate, paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, or even a stroke or heart attack, breakdown of muscle tissue and kidney failure. At least 126 people died in Florida in 2013 from using Flakka, according to the United Way of Broward County’s Commission of Substance Abuse.

Another synthetic, designer drug that is growing in popularity is Kratom, a mind-altering substance that is currently sold legally. Derived from a tree in Southeast Asia, Kratom can be chewed, smoked or – most commonly here – brewed as a tea. It is sold at kava bars, which appeals to the college crowd, who are usually under the legal drinking age limit. Kratom has both a stimulating and sedating effect. Side effects can include nausea, itching, sweating, and dry mouth while withdrawal symptoms include aggression, hallucinations and confusion. It is currently sold legally in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, but officials are deciding whether or not to ban the drug.

Cornerstone Cares: Seek Help for Addiction

“Parents, teachers, and counselors really need to familiarize themselves with the dangers involved in vaping these hazardous substances”, says Dr. Carlos Satulovsky, Medical Director at Cornerstone. “We encourage anyone who is using these substances to seek help immediately.” Cornerstone Recovery Center is experienced in treating young adults with addictions to designer drugs, such as Budder, Flakka and Kratom. If you or a loved one is struggling to deal with addiction, please contact us to speak confidentially with an admissions counselor. Call 888-711-0354 or click here to have us contact you.