The rise of synthetic drugs such as spice and bath salts has increased alarmingly over the last five years. One of the most alarming things about these “designer drugs” was the fact that they were legal to buy, sell, posses and even use without fear of criminal punishment. The United States government has scheduled a lot of the core components of these drugs. Yet this has not stopped drug pushers from coming up with new and unique designer drugs, most recently, “Flakka”.
What is Flakka?
Flakka is a designer drug using a core component found in other drugs known as “bath salts”. It provides the user with increased energy and a sense of euphoria, similar to that of meth or other amphetamine-based drugs. Flakka is typically found in a white and chalky-colored “rock” form, or crystalized (see above image). It can be snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked, making it extremely versatile. The most concerning part is that it can even be vaporized using electronic cigarettes, allowing it to be used completely in public with no one the wiser. The difficult part is controlling its wide array of disturbing side effects.
What are the side effects of Flakka?
The effects of Flakka, colloquially called “$5 insanity” because of its extremely cheap price point, rival even the strongest cocaine, MDMA or crystal meth, leaving a person with an extreme amount of energy lasting hours or even days at a time. Users are often reported being psychotic and showing super-human like strength needing four or five officers to restrain them.
Among the number of reported Flakka-related cases are some truly horrifying stories. These extreme cases include one where a man stood naked and armed on the roof of his house yelling, “I feel delusional, and I’m hallucinating”. Another fellow attempted to break down the door of a police precinct. An 86-year-old woman was attacked… and a man impaled himself through the groin during his attempt to scale the fence of a police station.
Why is Flakka so prominent now?
Flakka is an example as to why drug scheduling in the United States exhibits a small failure in our legislation system. Drugs are scheduled typically on their base components, in this case being alpha-PVP, a stimulant developed in the 1960s.
Today, alpha-PVP is manufactured in overseas pharmaceutical plants and shipped all over the world. It was only declared a controlled substance in January 2014, and only then on an emergency declaration from the Justice Department, so large quantities may have been able to make it to the U.S. without too much precaution.
The reality is, designer drugs are now a part of our underground drug culture. Whether a drug is scheduled or not only makes a real difference on a manufacturing level. Thousands of tons of drugs are smuggled into the United States each year regardless of their legality. What are your thoughts?