Flakka addiction is on the rise, particularly in South Florida, and Broward County leads the nation in the number of reported criminal cases involving flakka abuse. Flakka is so prevalent in South Florida that there have been several “flakka action team” local events. Our staff has attended many of these events to help raise awareness about the toll flakka is taking in our community.
The main challenges for drug treatment centers in Florida and beyond is to figure out exactly what flakka is, and to understand how flakka drug abuse is accelerating.
These are normally straightforward issues for drug rehabs. Unfortunately, the flakka drug is a new, purely synthetic substance with no set guidelines as to what goes in it.
The primary agent in flakka is a stimulant known as alpha-PVP, a chemical present in ‘speed’ as early as the 1960’s, and more recently seen in a similar drug to flakka known as “Bath Salts”. Today’s version has many other ingredients however, which vary from dose to dose, depending on where it’s made. There’s no way for drug users to know the strength and composition of the flakka drug dose that they ingest.
Flakka Addiction: The Great Unknown
“Most dangerous about this new drug is that no one knows what’s really in it”, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. “The users, ignorant to the strength or substance of what they are taking, are guinea pigs.”
To make matters worse, other synthetic drugs are sometimes laced with flakka or ‘gravel’, as it is also known. People suffering from flakka drug ingestion sometimes don’t realize they have taken the drug at all.
It can be snorted, injected, smoked, or swallowed, just like cocaine. That means cocaine can easily be cut with flakka without the user ever knowing it – until it’s too late.
Insane, Dangerous, and Deadly Behavior from Flakka Abuse
The effects of flakka abuse can be very perilous. Much like PCP, flakka can produce a total loss of reality, making users believe that they possess super-human strength. These feelings are often accompanied by hallucinations, paranoia, and bizarre behavior normally associated with severe mental disorders.
Recent incidents involving flakka include:
- A man who tried to have sex with a tree and then sprinted naked through the streets of Ft. Lauderdale.
- Two separate incidents at the Ft. Lauderdale police station, which was the target of attempted break-ins; one man impaled himself on a wrought-iron fence, and another tried to break down the station doors.
- A hotel guest in Deerfield Beach who hung himself with an electrical cord after taking a dose of flakka.
- A Key West resident who lay down on train tracks after taking flakka, and didn’t move when a train bore down on him.
Widespread Flakka Use and Distribution Reaching New Levels
Flakka is easily available to users of all income levels. It’s about one third the cost of crystal meth, meaning that addicts can get a dose on the street for a few dollars; “$5 insanity” is a common street name for the flakka drug.
The most disturbing chapter in South Florida’s flakka story to date involves Sour Patch Kids, a popular candy with young children. Multiple bags were recently discovered to be laced with flakka in Miami. Police arrested a Bradenton man with possession and intent to distribute the flakka-laced candy.
Though the drug is still relatively new, the familiar pattern of addiction is clear to anyone who has treated alcoholism and drug addiction. To stave off the feelings of coming down from the drug’s effects, flakka users take another dose, beginning the cycle that leads to drug abuse.
Flakka Addiction Treatment at Cornerstone Recovery Center
Flakka abuse is clearly very dangerous. The nearest emergency room is the best first stop in helping someone who is suffering from a flakka overdose.
Cornerstone Recovery Center can help you take the next step by offering flakka addiction treatment. Treatment plans include a 12-step program, SMART® Recovery, and Co-occurring Mental Health Program.
If you or someone you know is struggling with synthetic drug use or another addiction, call Cornerstone Recovery Center today at 1-888-711-0354 or contact us for a confidential discussion about the many options that are available.
*As of March 4th, the Sun-Sentinel reported that flakka use in Broward County has dramatically decreased, thanks in part to new laws, The Flakka Community Action Team, and law enforcement efforts to get Flakka users help. Stay tuned for part 2 on how flakka use was successfully decreased in Broward County, and strategies for future drug epidemics like this one.