Otherwise known as alpha-PVP, flakka is the street name for a type of synthetic hallucinatory psychoactive stimulants known as bath salts. The drug originated in Florida, where it’s caused the most uproar. Because it has stimulant properties, flakka works similarly to many amphetamines but is believed to be at least 10 times more potent than cocaine.1 During the height of the flakka epidemic in South Florida, the drug was also frequently referred to as the “zombie drug” due to the bizarre and violent behavior that users would exhibit. Unfortunately, there are still so many questions about this drug, such as “how long does flakka last in your system?” Understanding the duration of its side effects can potentially answer other questions about this zombie drug.
Bath salts like flakka are man-made stimulants that are chemically related to cathinone, a substance found in the khat plant. People in East Africa and southern Arabia chew the leaves of this plant for their mild stimulant side effects. However, man-made versions of cathinone, like flakka, are usually much stronger than the natural product and often contain other harmful chemicals.
Flakka, also called gravel, looks like small pink or white crystals. It can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in e-cigarettes or vape pens. While much is still unknown about how flakka works, what we do know is that it’s chemically similar to amphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA (ecstasy), meaning it produces stimulant-like side effects. Like other stimulants, flakka is believed to work by stimulating dopamine and serotonin to produce a euphoric and energizing high.
However, not only is flakka a stimulant, but it’s also a psychoactive drug, meaning that in addition to increased energy, it can also produce paranoia and hallucinations. Some other side effects of flakka include increased friendliness, increased sex drive, anxiety, panic attacks, agitation, and violent behavior. While the answer is unclear, we can assume that Flakka’s effects kick in almost immediately, like the effects of cocaine or MDMA. Flakka is also addictive, and long-term use often leads to physical dependence. Banyan Pompano offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other drug therapy programs that can help you if you’re struggling with a flakka addiction.
How long does flakka last in your body? Because so little is known about this drug, there isn’t a straightforward answer. The duration of alpha-PVP drug effects depends on the dose taken, body fat, metabolism, liver and kidney health, purity of the drug, and how often a person’s been using it. A person who’s been using flakka for a long period may take longer to metabolize the drug than someone who’s using it for the first time.
Additionally, it’s also difficult to detect the purity of alpha-PVP a person is taking and the dose. Bath salts and synthetic drugs often contain an array of chemicals that are unknown to users, making side effects unpredictable. However, because flakka is part of the bath salts family, we can assume that flakka lasts in your system anywhere between 48 to 72 hours.
Flakka will not show up on a standard urine drug test kit. These kits usually don’t detect synthetic cathinones found in flakka and bath salts. However, there is now quantitative testing for chemicals like A-PVP, MDPV, DMAA, Methylone, Mephedrone, and Pentedrone. These new urine drug tests are referred to as bath salts drug kits or Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) urine drug tests. So, while standard drug tests do not detect flakka, an NPS urine drug test will. Specifically, flakka will be detected in a person’s urine anywhere from 1 to 3 days if they’ve had 2.0 nanograms (ng) or milliliters (ml).
More research still has to be done on flakka and its impact on the body. What is known, however, is enough to conclude that this drug is dangerous and unpredictable. As with other forms of stimulant abuse, long-term flakka abuse can lead to addiction and possibly increase your risk of mental illness. The liver, kidney, and other organs can also take a serious hit as a result of the many random and fluctuating chemicals used to make bath salts.
If you or someone you know is using flakka and needs help quitting, Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano can help. Our Florida drug and alcohol treatment includes programs for stimulants as well as therapy treatments to address the psychological aspect of addiction. To learn more about the effects of flakka and how we can help, call our Pompano treatment center today at 888-280-4763.