Author: James Anderson

Flakka: Learn the Psychological Dangers of the ‘Zombie Drug

flakka drugs

As with all substance abuse, those experiencing addiction to flakka should screen for co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Synthetic drugs are illicitly created to produce substances that differ slightly from legal drugs. Thus, there are cases as violent as Austin Harrouff, and sometimes as unhinged as a 37-year-old Floridian identified only as Stephanie. NBC News reported that upon her very first experience with the flakka drug, she hallucinated that she was being chased. She then ripped off her clothes and jumped three stories off a bridge and into the water below.

The DEA classifies flakka as a Schedule I substance, making it illegal in the United States. Schedule I drugs have no acceptable medical purposes and a high potential for abuse. The zombie/cannibal label phenomenon began in Miami on May 26, 2012 when Rudy Eugene – naked and thought to be high on “bath salts” – chewed the face and eyeball off of a homeless man. The attacker was killed by police, and the homeless man was left disfigured and blind. Recently, the abuse of synthetic drugs has re-emerged as a significant worldwide issue.

Individuals with Flakka overdose were isolated to a few geographic regions of the country. The epicenter of the Flakka epidemic was Broward County, Florida, which includes the city of Fort Lauderdale. This is understandable as much of the public is now obsessed with zombie TV shows. But we need to ensure that we remain cautious about news we hear, and responsible for news we share. When someone is addicted to flakka, they can experience withdrawal symptoms without it.

  1. This allows them to interact with the monoamine transporters in the synaptic cleft between neurons.
  2. A 2016 study published in the journal Case Reports in Psychiatry indicated that a teen girl with no past psychiatric diagnosis experienced psychotic episodes after taking flakka.
  3. But in 1966, after Timothy Leary urged a generation to, “turn on, tune in, drop out,” the drug was made illegal.
  4. The flakka drug is highly addictive, and with repeated use comes the risk of devastating longer-term consequences including depression, insomnia, paranoia, kidney failure, heart failure, and death.
  5. The cathinones also inhibit the reuptake of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the central nervous system.

U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityBecause the effects of flakka are so potent, between September 2014 and December 2015, 63 people died from overdoses. Each time one type of bath salt is made illegal, the drug labs change the chemical structure slightly and a new drug that is technically not illegal is created. In the case of Flakka, the new chemical is called alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone or alpha-PVP.

Flakka Effects and “High”

In March, a man on flakka impaled himself on a spiked fence outside the police station. In February, a man on flakka tried to kick in the police station door, claiming cars were chasing him. First, potential users – especially experienced drug users – may disregard our warnings. Second, exaggerating dangerous effects usually leads to increased stigma toward those who use or happen to be dependent on the drug. This usually leads only to further ostracization and a lower likelihood of seeking treatment.

flakka drugs

In some situations, multiple police officers may be needed to subdue someone intoxicated on flakka. Although alpha-PVP use in that area has largely subsided, the dangerous drug continues to harm people in other regions of the United States. People addicted to the stimulant should seek treatment immediately. Flakka simulates the effects of the khat plant, which grows in Somalia and in the Middle East. Experts say that in high doses, it can cause an “excited delirium,” during which a user’s body temperature can rise to as high as 105 degrees. It can also create heart problems like tachycardia and life-threatening kidney failure.

As cathinones are hydrophobic molecules, they can cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. This allows them to interact with the monoamine transporters in the synaptic cleft between neurons. The cathinones also inhibit the reuptake of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the central nervous system. This inhibition causes an increase in the hormones that elevate mood. This is because the “comedown” after drug ingestion causes feelings of depression and being down.

Flakka Withdrawal Symptoms

Luckily, Broward County hospital admissions for flakka went from 306 in October to 54 in December, and stayed down, with no flakka-related deaths occurring over the first third of 2016. Along with a few cases reported in Ohio, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, and several others, in the U.S. flakka saw a whopping 780 percent increase in cases between 2012 and 2014. The flakka “epidemic” — in as much as it is one — is not a national one. Florida, particularly southeastern Florida, has seen the vast majority of cases. While it’s both relatively little-known and almost universally illegal in the West, khat has long been and still is openly and legally used in its native region. By the time the police reached the scene at about 11 p.m., they found Stevens and Mishcon stabbed to death and Harrouff aggressively gnawing at the former’s face.

flakka drugs

These include cocaine, methamphetamine (crystal meth), and MDMA (molly or ecstasy). Flakka is a highly addictive and dangerous drug, otherwise known as alpha-PVP (alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone.) It is an amphetamine-like stimulant that belongs to the cathinone drug class. Cathinones are man-made, or synthetic drugs containing cathinone, a naturally occurring stimulant found in the khat plant. In 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration banned two chemicals used to make the synthetic street drug bath salts. At the same time, MDMA, which is a phenethylamine, saw a resurgence, but by 2010, synthetic cathinones — “bath salts” and the drug Molly — arrived on the club scene.

Flakka is the nickname of alpha-PVP, a synthetic cathinone derived from the African khat plant. The designer drug is chemically similar to 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), an active ingredient in bath salts. These bizarre, dangerous, and violent behaviors are directly due to the side effects of the street drug Flakka. When experiencing excited delirium, some people react with violent behavior and self-injury. Flakka has been linked to several deaths by suicide, as well as heart attacks. The drug can also raise body temperature dangerously high, leading to kidney damage or failure.

And all of flakka’s devastating delirium and aggression start with a simple white or pink crystal. Alpha-PVP produces a rush of dopamine in the brain, causing an intense high similar to that of cocaine and methamphetamine. But it can also cause agitated delirium and sometimes results in psychiatric hospitalization. “Designer drugs must stay ahead of the authorities and medical communities to keep their illegal business afloat,” Li added. While there are no FDA-approved medications for addiction to flakka, there are medicines available for co-occurring mental health conditions.

What are the symptoms of Flakka abuse?

But nightmares and medication might be the least of a user’s worries. The flakka drug is highly addictive, and with repeated use comes the risk of devastating longer-term consequences including depression, insomnia, paranoia, kidney failure, heart failure, and death. Authorities took samples of Harrouff’s hair, DNA, and blood, and sent them to the F.B.I. for drug testing. But media outlet after media outlet immediately suspected that the culprit was a drug called flakka.

Symptoms of Flakka Abuse & Addiction

Muscle tissue begins to break down, releasing proteins and other cellular products into the bloodstream, in a process called rhabdomyolysis. The result of the cellular products and proteins released during rhabdomyolysis and dehydration can impair the filtering function of the kidneys, leading to renal failure and death. In addition, such agitation may trigger Taser use or other methods that have the potential to harm the individual when law enforcement personnel have to intervene. Synthetic drugs known as bath salts are from the synthetic cathinone class of drugs, like flakka. They mimic the stimulant effects similar to those resulting from illegal drugs.

Motivational incentives offer rewards to patients who remain substance-free. Although people use flakka to achieve a euphoric high, the drug’s symptoms and side effects can escalate quickly. Brevard County SheriffKenneth Crowder attempted to have sex with a tree while under the effects of flakka. Benzodiazepines may be used to calm the individual, and antipsychotics such as olanzapine might help alleviate symptoms of drug-induced psychosis.