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Going Flakka Crazy In Florida

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going-flakka-crazyA new synthetic drug is making news because of the bizarre behavior it causes in users. The drug is called flakka, and also sometimes gravel. It is a synthetic compound that causes extreme paranoia, and has resulted in some truly odd crimes in recent weeks.

South Florida crimes resulting from flakka

Much like the bath salts craze from a few years ago, flakka has been linked to several odd cases in the South Florida area. According to an article published by the Associated Press, “flakka use is up sharply.” Between January and March of this year, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office completed 275 evidence submissions for flakka testing; in all of 2014, there were fewer than 200.

Recent Florida cases include one from January, when a naked Lake Worth man was taken into police custody after firing a shot from a roof and threatening to take his own life. The 33-year-old man, who has a long list of prior drug convictions, admitted to smoking flakka prior to the incident and said he could not remember how he ended up on the roof.

In February, there was another flakka incident in Fort Lauderdale. A homeless man there tried to kick in the door of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, eventually cracking it by throwing rocks. After he was arrested, the man told officers he was desperate for help. He had apparently hallucinated that dozens of people were chasing him.

Just this past March, a 37-year-old man had to be rescued from a fence, because he impaled himself after he too tried to break into the police department. Police said the man had smoked flakka, and reportedly claimed “he needed to go to jail or ‘they’ would kill him.” Rescuers spent hours cutting him down from the fence.

What is flakka?

Flakka is a synthetic compound known as alpha-PVP. It’s typically manufactured overseas and is usually sold as a cheap product – sometimes as inexpensive as $5 – in crystal form. But despite being cheap, the drug is extremely dangerous.

In an interview with CBS News, Jim Hall, an epidemiologist at the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at Nova Southeastern University in Broward County, explained how flakka can cause what’s known as “excited delirium,” particularly when combined with other drugs.

“This is where the body goes into hyperthermia, generally a temperature of 105 degrees,” Hall explained. “The individual becomes psychotic, they often rip off their clothes and run out into the street violently and have an adrenaline-like strength and police are called and it takes four or five officers to restrain them. Then once they are restrained, if they don’t receive immediate medical attention, they can die.”

Getting help

With the dangerous repercussions and outright odd behaviors that result from flakka use, it may prompt people to question why anyone would try it in the first place. But drug addiction isn’t rational. It doesn’t leave conscious choice in the equation. Addiction simply looks for the next opportunity to fulfill the craving and get high – no matter what the cost.

If you are dealing with addiction, or if you’re looking for professional help for a loved one who is, call The Watershed today. We’re here 24/7: 1-800-861-1768.

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