Flakka is the latest street drug making headlines, and it’s made its way to the Midwest. Federal, state and local law enforcement have been on high alert for the deadly synthetic drug. As an employer, you should be, too!
What is Flakka?
Flakka is a stimulant that gives the user feelings of euphoria, it boosts attention, alertness and activity. The designer drug has alpha-PVP, which copies bath salts, a banned amphetamine. Bath salts contain MDPV, which is derived from the class of synthetic drugs cathinone. Alpha-PVP is like “bath salt 2.0.” Its chemical structure and brain effects are similar to MDPV.
A False Sense of Invincibility
Flakka is manufactured in China, and it’s surfaced in Florida and Chicago. According to Detective Casey Lambert with the St. Louis County Police Department, flakka makes the user feel like he or she has super powers. “Florida had a few incidents where it took seven plus officers to get one subject under control,” she said. “A Taser wouldn’t affect them, pepper spray won’t affect them.”
Effects on the Brain
Flakka blocks dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake, which means that more of the two neurotransmitters build up. The brain releases too much pleasure, essentially. With the increased pleasure, the user has a sense of euphoria, but can also cause increased alertness, anxiety, delirium, paranoia, severe hallucinations, and extreme aggression including “super strength.”
Cheap, Easy and Deadly
Flakka can cost the user as little as $5, but the effects on the body and mind are expensive — even deadly. Effects can include depression, panic attacks chest pain and other problems. “Florida is seeing a large amount of overdoses from it, so it’s killing the community and that’s something we need to be aware of,” Lambert said.