In the latter part of 2014, the synthetic drug Flakka was introduced into the drug market.
The drug is known for the wild, bizarre, and zombie-like behavior that it would cause in its users. This street drug was often used as a cheaper alternative to other drugs like cocaine and heroin, contributing to one of its names, “$5 insanity”. However, just as quickly as it came into the market, it seemed to vanish. Now people are wondering, “Is Flakka still around?” Our nationwide drug and alcohol treatment center is looking into this drug’s sudden disappearance.
What is the Flakka Street Drug?
Flakka, otherwise known as alpha-PVP, alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, or gravel, is a synthetic stimulant that belongs to the cathinone drug class. It was developed in the 1960s and is commonly sold as a designer drug. Flakka causes a high similar to that of cocaine but has the potential to be much more dangerous. It’s also known as the zombie drug because it causes extreme side effects, including hallucinations and psychosis. Flakka works by binding molecules on the surface of neurons that play roles in mood regulation. As a result, the brain floods with chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
As a dangerous substance with a high potential for abuse and no medical purpose, Flakka is a Schedule I drug. It can be snorted, smoked, injected, or taken orally as a pill. Our medically monitored detox at Banyan Treatment Centers provides Flakka users with a safe and effective way to withdraw and begin the physical and psychological recovery process.
Flakka Side Effects
Flakka is known for producing violent behavior and zombie-like symptoms in its users. While many people attribute its side effects to the idea that it contains drugs like heroin, crack, and meth, it’s actually a more advanced version of bath salts. Bath salts are psychoactive synthetic drugs that are usually created in foreign drug labs. Because these drugs are illegally produced in foreign drug labs, many of their ingredients are a mystery. However, it is known that Flakka is more dangerous than the average bath salt because its main ingredient, alpha-PVP, is more dangerous than that of bath salts (MDPV).
It’s believed that the various ingredients in Flakka, which range from chemicals to other illicit drugs, are responsible for the physical and psychological side effects users suffer from.
Some common Flakka drug side effects include:
- Brain swelling
- Excited delirium
- Aggressive and violent behavior
- Jerky muscle movements
- Difficulties breathing
- Self-destructive behaviors like self-harm
- Suicidal behavior
- Hyperthermia, or increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- Kidney failure
Additional long-term effects of Flakka include neurological damage and addiction. If you recognize these symptoms in someone or are struggling with drug abuse, one of the safest ways to achieve recovery is with our residential treatment program.
Where Did the Flakka Drug Go?
The Flakka drug outbreak began in 2014 and seemed to die off in 2016. During this time, reports of men running naked through the street and kicking in hurricane doors at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department were tied to the drug. Despite that Alabama, Mississippi, and New Jersey also have had reports of this drug, Florida seemed to be hit the hardest. Flakka was believed to have emerged as a replacement for bath salts, which are banned. Every time one kind of bath salt is banned, drug labs adjust the chemical composition to avoid legal detection for as long as possible. The adjusted composition may also explain why Flakka has seemed to disappear. After it was banned, similar synthetic drugs like Mojo have emerged.
While Flakka has seemed to disappear, it’s probably being worked into a different kind of drug so dealers can avoid legal attention and make a profit. This doesn’t mean that Flakka doesn’t exist anymore - this drug is still very real and life-threatening. Other illicit drugs are also contributing to addiction issues and the opioid epidemic in the United States.
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, do not wait to get help. The long-term effects of addiction can be life-changing in the worst way possible. Call our rehab center now at 888-280-4763 to speak to a team member about our drug and alcohol rehab programs.