Flakka is a designer synthetic, amphetamine street drug, that has recently been growing in popularity. Use has been surging in Florida, Texas and Ohio. This drug has not yet been banned so it is rapidly spreading across the country. On the street, Flakka, is also known as “gravel”. It is very inexpensive. A vial of the white or pink crystals can be purchased for $5 or less and very small amounts can be ordered through the mail. The main ingredient is a chemical compound, Alpha-PVP. It is similar to other drugs known as cathinones in “bath salts.” The crystals can be swallowed, snorted and injected. It can also be vaporized in an e-cigarette or other vaporizer device, which makes it easy to use in public.
Vaporizing allows the drug to get into the bloodstream very quickly. This puts the user at particularly high risk to overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Alpha-PVP can cause “excited delirium.” “Excited delirium” is caused by concentrated levels of dopamine and serotonin in the body. This condition can cause extreme stimulation, paranoia and hallucinations which can lead to violent and aggressive behavior as well as self-injury and suicide. It has also been linked to cardiac episodes and can raise the body temperature to 106 degrees which can lead to kidney damage and failure.
Flakka makers are continuously changing its’ makeup and often mix it with other drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin. This drug has the ability to re-wire brain chemistry which can cause striking changes in a user’s personality and behavior. Many lose control over their thoughts and actions. Sadly, this common, inexpensive and versatile drug is responsible for a very dangerous and disturbing trend!