Flakka is an incredibly potent and dangerous stimulant that can impact its user for several days. According to some studies, this drug can be ten times more potent than Ritalin. Some studies have highlighted the similar effects of flakka and bath salts. Specifically, these drugs produce equal rates of dependence after continued use. Despite the unpredictable and disturbing behavior it can cause, flakka has gained popularity in Ohio, Florida, and Texas.

Flakka falls into a class of drugs called cathinones, which are found in shrubs.

The chemical structure of the drug is α-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (α-PVP), which is manufactured in clandestine labs to imitate the effects of stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine. Synthetic replacements have become priorities for drug dealers, as they want to lace drugs with less expensive alternatives to increase profits.

While it’s illegal to sell flakka as a stimulant, it can be sold as a bath enhancer or plant food. However, the U.S. passed legislation that classifies α-PVP as a Schedule I drug. In turn, producers of the drug slightly altered it to make it technically legal. These alterations make the drugs much more dangerous because users never know what their reaction will be.

What is Flakka?

Imported from China, flakka is a synthetic stimulant drug that causes paranoia, rage, and bizarre behavior. High doses can cause muscle fibers to dissolve into the bloodstream, which can result in uncontrollable movement and a staggered gait. Some users report powerful hallucinations, which can activate severe fight-or-flight responses that can make them dangerous to be around.

Some ER doctors in South Florida call the drug “five dollar insanity,” and the director of one rehab facility referred to it as “the devil’s drug” because of its transformative powers.  Police officers and other first responders have described hellish scenes in which users ran naked into traffic and impaled themselves on fences.

What Are The Signs Of Flakka Addiction?

The signs of flakka abuse can be easier to identify than most drugs, as the effects are so undesirable. But some reports say that flakka ismore addictive than methamphetamine, despite these destructive ramifications.

Flakka is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which means it stops the body’s natural process of removing dopamine from the brain. Dopamine regulates excitement in the body, and flakka directly causes a buildup of the compound that results in feelings of panic and paranoia.

Signs of Flakka Abuse Can Include:

  • Agitation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Dilated pupils
  • Aggression
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Tics

If you’re concerned about being addicted to flakka, the first sign to look for is a growing drug tolerance. This tolerance is classified as the body getting used to the drug due to constant use. The initial dose you used can feel like it’s getting weaker, which can lead to compensating by taking more of it. In other words, you body has adjusted to flakka, so if you keep using it, you’ll run the risk of chemical dependence.

A dependence indicates your body relies on the drug for normalcy, so quitting “cold turkey” could cause withdrawal symptoms. If you keep using the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms, you could develop an addiction.

What’s Involved in Addiction Treatment for Flakka?

Addiction treatment consists of a continuum of care geared toward abstaining from drugs and treating co-occurring disorders. This treatment will include addressing the medical, psychological, and social impacts of addiction. Its sole purpose is to achieve long-term sobriety.

The first step in the continuum of care is often the most intensive, which is called medical detoxification. During this process, you’ll go through an intake process that assesses your needs.

Upon the successful completion of detox, you’ll move into the next level of care, which could be inpatient, intensive outpatient, or outpatient.

During the assessment stage, the addiction team will evaluate your past drug use and address medical needs. If you need additional assistance after detox, you’ll be placed in a residential treatment center that will allow you to live onsite for up to 90 days.

Once treatment concludes, the journey doesn’t end, and the facility could offer an aftercare program that will give you the opportunity to connect to other resources that will help you abstain from flakka. Addiction is a lifelong disease that requires constant upkeep.

Flakka Abuse Statistics

  • Since 2012, more than 150 new synthetic cathinones have been identified.
  • Flakka users are usually in their 20s.
  • In 2011, 23,000 emergency room visits involved psychostimulants such as flakka.
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