The use of synthetic drugs remains an emerging problem in the United States, the most common being bath salts and synthetic marijuana, such as Spice and K2. Despite numerous public health warnings and a rise in emergency room visits related to these types of drugs, government agencies have had a hard time getting control of the situation. As soon as a ban is issued on the chemicals used to make synthetic drugs, chemists make alterations in order to skirt the bans.
One of the latest synthetic drugs to affect communities in Florida is known as Flakka, according to Forbes. The drug is similar to the chemical used to make bath salts, MDPV, a commonly abused cathinone.
Similar to bath salts, Flakka comes in a crystalline rock form and is both physically and psychologically addictive. The drug’s effects can last anywhere from 3-4 hours, but it has been known to linger for several days, the article reports.
The drug can be used in a number of ways, including:
In 2010, according to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there were no reported Flakka cases. However, by 2012 there were 85 cases and more than 670 in 2014.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department, is creating a specialized task force to deal with the problem, according to the article. Known as the “Flakka Initiative,” the task force will work with local agencies as well as the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Flakka’s side effects are nothing short of alarming; use of the drug can cause serious problems, such as kidney damage. Common side effects include:
- Severe Anxiety
- Loss of Awareness
- Increased Strength
- Violent Surges
- Increased Body Temperature