A new drug has made its way to Florida and parts of the Midwest, and it has officials concerned. The drug, called flakka, is a potent stimulant that is made in laboratories and sold online. Flakka, also known as gravel, has been causing trouble in Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio for the past few years. It causes the user to suffer psychotic episodes, become delusional and aggressive, and experience hallucinations. It also raises body temperature to dangerous levels, and can cause cardiac arrest. According to Florida state officials, the crime lab at the Broward Sheriff’s Office went from analyzing one flakka case in January 2014 to 80 in September and an average of 100 a month this year.
Drugs like flakka are often more dangerous or cause more problems than better known drugs simply because they fly under the radar. There are no prevention programs in place for drugs like flakka or new synthetic drugs, and many of these drugs are even legal for the first few years until the government has time to ban them. Even though people should know better, many continue to get sucked in by drugs that are new, exciting, and that aren’t warned about in prevention campaigns. This doesn’t make the drugs less potent or dangerous, however.
“Flakka is whole different animal,” said one treatment provider. “What we’re seeing when these individuals come in (for treatment), cognitively something has changed in them. Paranoia, anxiety and aggression comes out of nowhere. They are fine, having a great day, and then they have a wave come over them.”
If you are a parent, the best thing you can do is talk to your child about the dangers of using any kind of substance. Give your teen reasons to avoid drug use by showing them addiction statistics. Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest drug trends as well, so you know what things are going on around your child and can watch for the warning signs. Flakka and drugs like it are not just being abused by teens or young adults either. Many adults are finding themselves in bad situations because of flakka. We all need to be aware of new drugs and the dangers of using any type of substance.
Click here to find out more about flakka and the dangers of this drug.