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New Street Drug Danger: Flakka

Updated on October 3, 2015

A new synthetic designer drug has reared its ugly head on the recreational drug market and it's scarier than most the drugs you've probably heard about. Flakka, as this new drug is known as, has been recently found in Florida as soon as 2014. Described as a cross between bath salts and methamphetamine Flakka is known for be extremely potent, dangerous, and can cause signs and symptoms of aggression and psychosis.It is also known on the street as "Gravel" due to it's gravelly texture and shape.

While the drug is not currently illegal due to loopholes in our laws it will soon be addressed by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) due to the threat it presents to the general population. The problem with our laws is that these drugs are synthetically made in a chemist's lab. While based off an illegal substance (in this case a compound called Alpha-PVP) the new created drug is technically a new drug unlisted by US laws and is technically legal.

As an Emergency Medical Technician I take great interest in every drug that comes onto the streets and put a lot of research into studying them. The problem I have with drugs is that they affect people in negative ways, can hurt others, and can destroy families. We in the EMS system often see and respond to drug related emergencies. Educating about the dangers and informing other providers is something that I feel very strong about.

This article will address the spread of Flakka, the side effects of Flakka, the treatments that can be used to treat those on the drug in an emergency situation, and will provide videos that show actual victims and addicts of Flakka and the psychosis they have undergone.

If you or someone else is addicted to illegal narcotics I strongly advise you to seek help. At the bottom of this article is information on how you can contact and receive help right from your own. As always if someone is experiencing an emergency dial 9-1-1 immediately.

The Spread of Flakka

Since the discovery of Flakka in America it's thought to be only affecting the undergrond drug markets of Florida. The drug is rumored to be in Ohio but unlike Florida no cases of the drug have been found by EMS or the Police Departments. The drug is thought to be produced in Asia and is often transported to the US market mixed with other drug substances such as meth, cocaine, and even illegally produce cigarettes.

Flacca Use and the Dangers

Flakka is an extremely dangerous drug that can cause several life threatening side effects on top of the euphoric feelings that most users abuse it to get. Whether smoked, snorted, ingested, injected, or otherwise taken into the body the results can be the same. The patient may experience periods of euphoria intermixed with periods of psychosis; including violent aggression, Hallucinations, Paranoia, Anxiety, and Insomnia. It can cause hyperthermia. Ultimately it cause death and serious brain injury as well.

Care and Treatment of Flakka Users

Flakka is a new drug and it's interactions are not really known. As it is a relative of Methampetamines it's suggested that the drug Naloxone (known also as Narcan) may counter the effects. In any case the subject needs immediate emergency medical treatment and often rapid cooling due to hyperthermia. Further documentation can be found in research.

Flakka Addict Injures Self Escaping Police

A Presentation on Flakka by Dr. Cunha

Final Words and Author Biography

This article is meant to be a fact sheet and a guide to the general public on Flakka. It is not meant for those who seek to abuse drugs but designed for first responders who will eventually see these drugs in their emergency call systems. If you are addicted to drugs and came here because of the keyword "Flakka" please seek help and help others help save you. Please call the SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The hotline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental health and/or substance use disorders.

My name is Kyle and let me tell you about myself. I am an Emergency Medical Technician Basic who has been a member of various 911 and Specialty Resources in and around the states of PA and VA for nearly 10 years. I am a American Heart Association certified CPR/BLS Instructor as well as an active member of the National Registery of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). I am an Air Force Veteran (2011-2015) who specialized as a Surgical Technologist and separated honorably to pursue higher education in the field of Criminal Justice and Counter Terrorism. I am an avid supporter of EMS classes being held in the high school environment and CPR skills in general being taught to everyone.


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