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Flakka

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Flakka

flakka-iconFlakka is one of the most recent drugs to hit the street and has risen in popularity in several states, including Florida, Texas, and Ohio. Flakka is a designer drug that is made from a chemical compound called alpha-PVP, which is closely related to the main ingredients in another designer drug, cathinone, which is found in “bath salts.” Flakka, which is also called gravel on the street due to its ground up, crystalline appearance, is very dangerous and should be avoided.  This is something that could be said about all illicit drugs, but because Flakka is new, and the ingredients in the drug are not standardized, it is hard for an individual to know what they are getting dose wise and ingredient wise. The high is similar to cocaine except that it is usually much more powerful and much more dangerous. A slight change in the dose taken can be the difference in getting high and dying according to an article by CNN. Flakka can sell for up to $200 a gram, depending on the alleged purity, and can be used by smoking, injecting, ingesting or snorting it.

Flakka is a synthetic drug that along with bath salts, has similarities to crystal meth. It is a powerful stimulant that causes severe paranoia as well as thoughts of suicide and other negative mind-altering conditions. Gravel causes extreme behavior, from violent to extreme paranoia, excited delirium, spiked body temperature and misconceptions about reality.

Street Names 

Gravel is the most common street name for flakka, additionally it is linked with similar designer drugs such as Bath Salts and Spice.

Common Forms of Flakka and How to Identify Them

Narcotics detectives and scientists studying the flakka drug say is resembles crack cocaine and meth as well as having a distinctive foul smell.

Drug Class

Flakka is a stimulant drug that is highly addictive. The drug is a designer drug created using synthetic materials. The drug is considered a cathinone that poses serious health risks when used.

DEA Schedule 

a-PVP and other synthetic cathinones were listed as Schedule 1 drugs on January 28, 2014. Due to the amount of overdoses and emergency room visits that were associated with the use of flakka, legislature found it necessary to schedule it as so. Unfortunately, since the drug was created to sneak around the legal system, makers of the drug continue to alter the ingredients to escape legal repercussions. With each new batch of these synthetic drugs seems to come even more negative side effects and risks.

General Effects of Flakka

Cocaine and amphetamines both induce increases in dopamine and norepinephrine in the human body, which make you feel good and raise your heart rate and blood pressure, respectively.   Feeling good and having more energy are great, if they occur naturally.  When they occur through taking drugs or drinking alcohol, there can be ramifications.  Flakka, like other stimulants, has a down-slope when the high wears off.  When the euphoria and increased energy has worn off, leaving people tired and feeling down again, many want to return quickly to using the drug.  This cycle of abuse can lead to habitual use and addiction with any substance, especially one with the qualities of gravel.

Short Term Effects of Use

Besides the sought-after high that Flakka produces, there are other side effects as well. Flakka can result in a state that is referred to as “excited delirium,” with symptoms that include extremely high levels of stimulation, paranoia, and hallucinations. A person’s body temperature can increase to very dangerous levels which can lead to kidney damage and possible failure. Gravel can also lead to violent fits of aggression, towards both love ones and strangers, as well as self-injury, and has been linked to attempted suicides and heart attacks.  This is truly a situation where the risk does not seem anywhere near worth the reward.

Long Term Effects of Use

Irrational behavior, hallucinations, increased heart rate, and increased sensitivity are the most well-known effects that come from taking flakka. Additionally, users reported vomiting, aggression, and psychosis. The designer drug has a long list of general effects because each time a user might experience something different. Currently, doctors are seeing users suffer from hyperthermia and experiencing extreme psychosis. 

Why Is Flakka So Addictive & Dangerous?

There are three things that make a street drug somewhat more dangerous than others.  Those aspects are availability (gravel is sold be professional drug dealers as well as “amateurs” that supply there friends and close associates, as well as online and sometimes still in drug paraphernalia or head shops, but this has decreased since the ban), and unpredictability (experts are still trying to come up with a good comparison of Flakka strength to other drugs).  Additionally, Flakka is sometimes mixed with other higher priced drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, which is good for drug dealers but not good for drug abusers.

Mixing Flakka and Other Drugs

Taking flakka while using other drugs is a known practice called “Snacking” and combining cathinones with other drugs is highly dangerous. Because users never really know what the chemical makeup of flakka is, when they mix it with something else there’s no guarantees what the effects on the body might be. Combining flakka with another drug increases the chances heart attack, agitation, extreme aggression and psychosis.

What is the best Treatment for Flakka Addiction and Abuse?

Due to its qualities, Flakka is a drug that can become physically addicting.  If a person develops a tolerance to the drug, and cannot stop using on their own, there are drug rehabilitation programs in every area of the country.  Many rehab centers have a great variety of programs that can fit anyone’s needs when they have decided to make a positive change in their life.  Flakka is definitely not a drug whose use should be taken lightly, and if you or a loved one is struggling with quitting and needs help, contact an addiction professional now.  Drug and alcohol treatment specialists will walk you through all of the steps you will need to take, from detox to rehab to addiction aftercare services in order for you to successfully enter recovery and return to a life that you yourself control.  No one needs to fight addiction on their own, there are supportive and caring professionals waiting to help anyone who is ready to change.

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