A new designer drug that provides “excited delirium” can be linked to recent criminal activities throughout parts of Florida, Texas and Ohio. Police have connected several reports of bizarre behavior to the substance that rivals the strongest cocaine or crystal meth.
According to Forbes, the drug is called Flakka and comes in a crystalline rock form. Users can swallow, snort or inject it. It can even be used in an e-cigarette and vaped. Because it can be placed in a cartridge, it can be easily concealed.
Highly addictive, Flakka is produced from a compound known as alpha-PVP and made from an amphetamine-like derivative of the drug cathinone. Effects from the drug can last for 3-4 hours or linger for a couple of days.
Drug suppliers are ahead of the game as Flakka has not been officially banned, unlike bath salts containing the common form of cathinone known as MDPV.
The physiologic effects of the drug sets off severe anxiety and delusions, leading to a psychotic state, which is identified by a surge of violence that includes increased strength and loss of awareness of surroundings and reality.
Jim Hall, an epidemiologist at the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at Nova Southeastern University, said, “We’re starting to see a rash of cases of a syndrome referred to as excited delirium. This is where the body goes into hyperthermia, generally a temperature of 105 degrees. 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.”
The Daily Dot reported on a number of recent Flakka-related episodes in Florida. These incidents included a man breaking down the door of a police precinct, an armed and naked man standing on his roof and yelling, “I feel delusional, and I’m hallucinating,” another man attacking an 86-year-old woman, and an individual trying to scale the fence of a police station, impaling himself through the groin in the process.
In a particular incident last month, a Miami man rushed out of his home, ripped his garments off in a rage, and screamed and yelled violently after smoking Flakka. It took five police officers to restrain the man as he displayed superhuman strength, all whilst hallucinating about seeing objects in front of him.
Forbes reported that one of the chief concerns of Flakka is that the suppliers, who are typically from China, Pakistan and India, as well as the users often do not know what is actually contained in the drug when it is sold on the streets. Transactions by lower level suppliers are often made online and when it reaches the streets it repackaged. Absent of purity, it may be combined or cut with anything from heroin to cocaine, or even sprinkled with cannabis.
According to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, Flakka cases are significantly increasing from no reported cases in 2010 to 85 cases in 2012, and now greater than 670 in 2014. So far, there are not any statistics available on reported cases in 2015.