26-May-15 8:00 AM  CST

Dangerous and Cheap New Street Drug Causing New Problems for Police

As if heroin, crack cocaine, and meth haven’t caused the nation’s police departments enough problems it seems there is another home brewed drug causing even more problems. Alpha-PVP, a synthetic drug first introduced and created in China has found its way to the streets of the US. Flakka, its street name, is inexpensive and can cause users to hallucinate and have aggressive strength they would not typically exhibit. Recently, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department in South Florida has had its own ever mounting issues with flakka.

In South Florida more than 18 percent of all deaths in Broward County since September of 2014 have been related to the use of flakka. Law enforcement officials believe Broward County, Florida is where flakka was introduced into the United States and if not controlled will become the next wave of addiction in the US.

 Also known as gravel, the handle “flakka” comes from the Spanish term meaning pretty, enticing women. Flakka is a synthetic cathinone that impersonates the native African khat plant. A cathinone is an amphetamine like substance that is found naturally in plants like the khat. Law enforcement officials liken this latest street drug infestation to that of bath salts, only less expensive and much more dangerous. Costing less than $5 a dose the drug is increasingly attractive to the homeless and those in the poor neighborhoods of Southern Florida, but the side-effects of the drug end up being much more costly.        

Flakka, which works by blocking the reuptake function of transmitting neurons and artificially flooding the brain with dopamine and serotonin, is a crystal that can take on various colors. Many users of flakka simple place the crystals in their mouths and allow them to melt, while others may smoke the substance by “vaping” in an e-cigarette device, which makes it harder for law enforcement to detect. The drug can raise the body’s temperature to above 105 degrees; causing the user to believe their body is on fire. Many who have experienced this effect will strip off their cloths and oddly enough, may end up dying from heat stroke due to hyperthermia.

Perhaps one of the most startling and treacherous facts concerning flakka is the amount of drug it takes to cause these effects. Users may feel the effects of flakka for more than 3 days on as little as 1/10 of a packet of sweetener. With such a small dose needed for a high, many users increase the amount of drug for a bigger or intense high and eventually end up overdosing and dying from the drug.



Robles, F., (2015), “Police in Florida Grapple With a Cheap and Dangerous New Drug”, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/25/us/police-in-florida-grapple-with-flakka-a-cheap-and-dangerous-new-drug.html?ref=health&_r=0, retrieved, 26, May 2015

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Sandra Andrews
(717) 360-1159
Source: Sandy Andrews  

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