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Is Dangerous Drug Flakka Really Gone?

Is Flakka Really Gone?

Author: Justin Mckibben

Flakka, the infamous “$5 insanity” that surfaced nearly 2 years ago and flooded the news with the impending doom it seemed to add to the already corrosive drug scene, has seemingly dissipated to the point of practical extinction according to reports that have left authorities across the country puzzled. With the wild stories of erratic behavior, hospitalizations and even horrendous attacks it is strange that a synthetic nightmare that came out of nowhere has apparently disappeared out of nowhere. Is Flakka really gone?

Florida Finds Huge Flakka Decline

According to CNN, 63 Flakka users died in South Florida between September 2014 and December 2015. Last spring, about four people were hospitalized for a Flakka-related incident every day in South Florida, and for the last two years Florida authorities have been working diligently to warn the public about the dangers of Flakka. Now suddenly it seems Flakka use has plummeted. Jim Hall, a drug abuse epidemiologist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida stated,

“I have never seen an epidemic emerge so rapidly but literally disappear so quickly,”

“Anecdotal reports from both street users and law enforcement officers say that Flakka is not even available in the street drug market.”

Compared to two years ago there have been no reported deaths in 2016 related to Flakka. Florida treatment centers reported:

  • Last fall they admitted about 50 Flakka users every month
  • This year they have admitted only 6 Flakka users in January

Florida is not the only place where the terror of Flakka has hit a stark decline. Reports of fewer sightings of Flakka have also come in from other areas such as:

  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Rural areas of Kentucky

So how could such a demonizing substance that hit these areas so hard be suddenly wiped out?

Chinese Chemical Cut-off

Authorities still aren’t 100% sure how Flakka managed to fizzle out so fast, but Jim Hall believes the shift can traced back to a ban in China on the production and export of alpha-PVP, the chemical name for this dangerous drug. Since the beginning of the synthetic outbreak the source of this chemical was presumably tracked to Chine, and U.S. officials had been applying some real pressured to China to enact the ban, which includes 115 other synthetic drugs.

In October the ban finally went into effect.

Something else that also probably had an enormous impact was that nearly all the drug producers were in one Chinese province, which allowed authorities to cut-off the chemical cooks right at the source. Other factors probably had an impact, including:

  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Law enforcement hunting down dealers
  • Word on the street about the nasty side effects

Will the Peace Last?

A few questions come to mind when enjoying this small hurdle we seem to have overcome: with cooks ordering the chemicals from overseas and making a 2,000% profit from the drug, is it likely they will not fight to get the drug back on the market?

Will another replacement synthetic appear to fill the void? Michael Baumann, who studies designer drugs for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stated:

“History has shown that one of the unintended consequences to banning certain drugs is that it typically leads to an explosion of new replacement drugs.”

So far, no replacements have been reported, but how long will the peace last? You may remember Bath Salts as another horrific example of a synthetic drug exploding onto the market and causing wide-spread panic before losing momentum, and Flakka was not far behind it.

For now officials and community workers are not resting on the laurels of Flakka’s disappearance, and they have continued to be focused on educating the public about the dangers of Flakka and other synthetic drugs. And still, community leaders are putting an emphasis on comprehensive drug abuse and addiction treatment programs to help address those issues that still exist.

Synthetic drugs like Flakka are extremely dangerous, and while they may be on a decline in popularity these kinds of drugs are disastrous and can turn fatal regardless of the name attached. Thankfully no addict has to suffer through this alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

EMTs in Florida Using Ketamine to Fight Flakka

EMTs in Florida Using Ketamine to Fight Flakka

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

In a decision that will undoubtedly be debated at innovative or extremely controversial, emergency responders in Florida are going to be taking a pretty drastic measure in their movements to fight back against the growing issue of the infamous “$5 insanity” of Flakka… using doses of Ketamine to subdue violently aggressive patients.

When I came across this story I could not help but be baffled, yet curious as to how exactly this plan of action has been orchestrated and how it will be executed.

So I want to ask… is it a good idea that EMTs in Florida are going to be using Ketamine to fight Flakka?

First- What is Flakka?

For anyone who hasn’t heard, Flakka is one of the newest dangerous drugs to hit the streets that has gained a lot of attention in a short period of time for the dramatic, tragic and appalling stories it has inspired.

The synthetic drug Flakka, also known by other names such as Gravel, is a synthetic version of an exceedingly strong stimulant cathinone, officially dubbed alpha Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (Alpha-PVP). Commonly found in a crystal-like form, Flakka is known to be cheap, addictive, and deadly. When used this can be ingested in various ways, including:

  • Swallowed
  • Smoked
  • Snorted
  • Injected

Some of the effects include:

  • Body overheating
  • Heightened sense of euphoria
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Feeling superhuman strength
  • Psychotic episodes

There have been stories of people running naked through the streets, reacting in rage to horrific hallucinations, and even one story of an elderly woman beaten to death by an individual trapped in a Flakka induced violently psychotic episode. These terrible and frightening stories have hit authorities hard, and apparently they are willing to go to great lengths to put a stop to the madness.

So then what is Ketamine?

Ketamine is another synthetic substance that has a history of strange side-effects and street credit for being abused and becoming addictive. It has been used before as an anesthetic and analgesic drug, but earned a bad name for its illicit use as a hallucinogen. It also has a reputation as a “date-rape” drug.

Ketamine is commonly seen as a powder or liquid and was initially used on animals. When used on the streets it is often ingested by:

  • Injection
  • Consumed with drinks
  • Snorted
  • Smoked

Yet more recently we have begun to see more and more people pushing for one reason or another to drop the bad name assigned to Ketamine to promote positive uses for it, such as treating depression.

Synthetic VS Synthetic

Now in a very radical approach some Florida EMS departments are arming their paramedics with Ketamine as a new weapon to fight Flakka. The latest fire and rescue department in the state to start utilizing Ketamine is Indian River County Fire and EMS. Last week the announced that within the next two weeks their paramedics will be trained on how to administer Ketamine and equipped with the substance.

According to officials the thigh injection can sedate a patient within a minute. Battalion Chief Cory Richter in Indian River County told reporters,

“It will knock them out, but it won’t hurt them in any way, shape or form. It will allow us to treat them and get them to the hospital, and it keeps our guys safe.”

Richter went on to explain that patients who are high on Flakka pose a very real threat to paramedics because the drug gives them superhuman strength and also makes them resistant to pain. Indian River County has had several serious incidents involving Flakka in the past few months, so authorities are done taking their chances it seems.

Indian River County is not the first in Florida to use Ketamine for this purpose. The city of Plantation began placing vials of Ketamine on all of rescue trucks, but reported only needing to use them roughly once per month. The officials in these areas insist that Ketamine is more effective than other drugs because it doesn’t affect the patient’s respiratory system or heart rate, making it safer to use as well. Last July Lt. Daniel Tringali of the Plantation Fire Department told reporters,

“If a police officer’s Taser does not stop them, something needs to stop them,”

Again driving home the point that even though many question Ketamine as being a powerful sedative substance it is still a measure many have deemed necessary in contrast to allowing their EMTs, other emergency response teams or law enforcement to be at elevated risk of injury from an aggressive individual in a Flakka induced rage. To fight Flakka it might be necessary to give EMTs an advantage.

I find myself wondering how this would work out. Apparently officials in the areas already using Ketamine to fight Flakka think it is doing a decent enough job of keeping people safe in the most compromising circumstances. Considering last summer 27 people died of Flakka-related overdoses in an 8 month period in Broward County alone, I think maybe it is understandable why people are so desperate to find a new means to fight Flakka. Not sure if substituting Ketamine is the best solution there is, but right now it seems to be a strategy people are willing to try.

Synthetic drug abuse is so dangerous because of the fact the ingredients and the side-effects can be horrifically unpredictable. Chemical cocktails made from mystery compounds in underground labs with lethal potency are a nightmare being sold on the streets, and beyond such a radical idea as pitting one chemical against the other there is real recovery from drug abuse in the Palm Partners addiction treatment program. If you or someone you love is struggling please don’t wait, call 1-800-951-6135. We want to help, you are not alone.

Crazy News Stories of the Week

Crazy News Stories of the Week

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

There’s been a few crazy news stories circling the web so I decided to bring back Crazy New Stories!  I can not think of a better way to end a long week than gawking at some ridiculousness. Here are a couple funny, disturbing, and crazy news stories that made headlines just this past week:

  1. Surprising News: Drunken Vegetarians Secretly Eat Meat
    If you have any vegetarian friends, you might not want to tell them that you’re in on their secret. A recent article in the Huffington Posts revealed that more than a third of vegetarians admit to eating meat after drinking alcohol.  The study was of close to 2000 vegetarians in the UK. Of the third who admitted to giving in, 26% said they indulged “often” while drunk and 22% said “rarely?” The most popular foods to cheat on were kebabs and burgers with kebabs coming in at 39% and burgers coming in at 34%. Still, post hangover regret is real.  Almost 70 percent of vegetarians say they do not admit to anyone after they’ve eaten meat. How sneaky!
  2. Ohio Man Gets Too Stoned on Weed, Calls Police
    This 22-year-old man in Austintown, Ohio was so high that he had to call police to complain about it. Police responded at about 5:20 p.m. and found him groaning on floor in fetal position. It gets better. Police report that the man was “surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Chips Ahoy cookies,” and he complained about not being able to feel his own hands.From his home, police recovered a glass pipe with marijuana residue along with two pacts of rolling paper, two roaches and a jar of marijuana. The man declined medical treatment and has not be charged for a crime as of yet.
  3. Man Calls Police after His Girlfriend Refuses to Have Sex with Him
    Okay, so this one is a bit ridiculous and if the police got a call every time this happened, I’m pretty sure their phone systems would crash. Continuing on, a Carolina man called 911 to report that his girlfriend was refusing to have sex with him. To make matters worse, this was right when flooding from Hurricane Joaquin was going on. Patrick Dogett, 53, apparently had been drinking all day and called the police stating his woman “would not give him any a**” Later police found him feeling blue outside his home in the early morning hours Tuesday cursing loud and profusely. Dogett was arrested for public drunkenness but has since been released.
  4. ‘Drunk’ UConn Student Gets Arrested After Demanding ‘F–king Mac And Cheese’ 
    There’s a viral video going around the internet of a university student getting completely irate over being denied the privilege of eating macaroni and cheese. Luke Gatti, 19, of Bayville, New York was charged for a breach of peace and criminal trespass. In the video, Gatti can be seen in the video titled “”Drunk Kid Wants Mac And Cheese,” demanding the managers at the Union Street Market to give him some mac and cheese.
    “Just give me some f–king bacon, jalapeno mac and cheese,” Gatti stated. Gatti was denied entry due to underage drinking and carrying an open container of alcohol.
  5. Broward’s First Flakka Baby Dies after Just One Hour
    This story is more sad than crazy. Unfortunately the implications of using flakka are starting to reveal themselves in newborns in an insane way.  Most people know about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome when it comes to drugs like heroin and alcohol however the effects of flakka use during pregnancy was unknown. However, now in Florida, Broward County was first to witness the youngest, most innocent victim of the street drug flakka. The baby was born premature, only weighed 3 pounds and lived only one hour. The death was ruled a, “result of prematurity and alpha-PVP (flakka) toxicity.”Reports show the mother refused prenatal care or medication during her pregnancy and was previously discharged from Broward Health Medical Center June 20 after spending a month under psychological evaluation. When will the flakka craziness stop?

So overall we have burger-eating vegetarian and a Doritos galore to wrap up our week.  If your name is not on the list, that’s awesome. Let’s keep it that way!  Crazy can be funny to read about but often being the one involved in the craziness is not as cracked up as you think it to be. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125

The Increasing Trend of New Psychoactive Substances

The Increasing Popularity of Synthetic Drugs

Author: Shernide Delva

With Marijuana Reform policies stirring controversy throughout the country, soon the idea of legal recreational drug usage could become a reality in the United States.

In the meantime, however, many are finding ways to use drugs without the fear of criminalization by synthetic alternatives and they are gaining immense popularity.  New Psychoactive Substances are being created and marketed to those desperate to obtain a “legal high.”

In recent years, stories about synthetic drugs such as bath salts and Flacka gained national attention and caused media panic. Most of us have heard of the infamous face-eating episode involving bath salts that was later debunked.

Still, new psychoactive substances continue to enter the drug markets that mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and Methamphetamines (Ecstasy).  Even as States and Congress work rapidly on policies to combat these new drugs, newer alternatives get made that replace the old ones.

It’s a rat race involving chemists and manufactures rushing to replace banned drugs with new variations that politicians struggle to keep up with.

New Psychoactive Substances

Before we go further, we should define what is meant when discussing these “new psychoactive substances” in the first place. More commonly known as synthetic drugs, New Psychoactive Substances is the current terminology used to define any “range of drugs that have been designed to mimic established illicit drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD.”

The Drug Policy Association arranged a conference call with Earth Erowid, one of the founders of the popular drug website, and he elaborated on the change of terminology.

“Synthetic drugs are a term used to imply scary new street drugs,” said Earth Erowid. “But nearly all pharmaceutical drugs are synthetic, whether they’re cannabinoids, opioids, stimulants, or sedatives. You don’t want to use the phrase ‘synthetic drugs’ unless you’re talking about every pharmaceutical developed over the past 50 years.”

“A more accurate and appropriate term is “new psychoactive substances,” he said.  “That’s the standard term in Europe.”

These new psychoactive substances can be grouped into general categories based on the drugs that they attempt to replicate.

Five Most Common New Psychoactive Substances

These are the five most common categories of legal drug alternatives currently being distributed today.  As these drugs gain popularity, the health implications of using these drugs is a major concern since ironically there is often less research done on these legal substances than there is on the illegal drugs they are substituting.

1.  Replacement Cannabinoids

Often sold in powder form; these are sprinkled on herbal blends. One variety known as Spice resembles potpourri and is sold in shops as incense. Products like Spice contain dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive effects. They are not cannabis but are synthetic cannabinoid agonists that work by targeting the same cannabinoid receptors those chemicals in marijuana target resulting in similar relaxing anxiety reducing effects.

In the past, the ingredients in Spice were modified to keep up with laws banning chemicals in their product that produce those cannabis effects.  Some specific compounds include JWH 018 and AB-PINACA, among many others. Often assumed as “natural,” not enough research has been conducted to prove these drugs are safe and several have been associated with death and serious medical complications.

2.  Replacement Euphoric Stimulants

These include cathinones like methadone, MDPV (“bath salts”), and Alpha PDP (“flakka”), as well as compounds related to Ritalin. Flakka has gained huge popularity in Florida and has been dubbed “$5 insanity” because of the low cost to obtain it. It is synthesized legally in Chinese labs and can be delivered right to your doorstep. Unfortunately, flacka has been linked to a stream of bizarre crimes and has gained media attention. Clearly the health risks of flacka is questionable.

Many replacement euphoric stimulants are marketed to young teens and adults active in the rave and EDM communities who desperately desire the effects of ecstasy without the use of illegal drugs.  These forms of legal ecstasy contain various herbs or herbal extracts that are psychoactive. They claim to have similar effects to Ecstasy however none of these substances have been proven to be safe. Side effects for these drugs include racing heart, dry throat, anxiety, tremor and cold extremities.

3.  Replacement Psychedelics

Often those who think they are buying illegal LSD are actually getting this legal substitute. Best known are the NBOMe series (aka “N-Bomb”). The drug was introduced in 2003 by chemist Ralf Heim at the Free University of Berlin and since has continued to climb in popularity.

Batches of these drugs are bought from China by dealers over the internet. They are than cut with alcohol or some other liquid and put on blotter paper where they are sold to young people who continue to increase the use of the drug through word-of-mouth. Some studies warn these drugs are more dangerous than LSD and the NBOMe class has been linked to about 20 deaths.

4. Replacement Dissociatives

These are PCP-like chemicals, including various ketamine variants and methoxetamine. Ketamine is an anesthetic often used in hospitals as a pain killer and bronchodilator. Often ketamine can cause hallucinations causing a person to feel detached from the world around them.

5. Replacement Opioids

These include chemicals such as AH 7921 and U4770.

Kratom is a drug gaining immense popularity and is being ordered online and through local herbal shops.  Kratom tropical deciduous and evergreen tree in the coffee family that has mood-lifting properties however with heavy usage can cause hallucinations and psychosis. The reactions to the drug vary dramatically and little is known about the dangers of using the drug long term.  Palm Beach County has considered banning the substance however Kratum is still very legal in most of the United States. For now, the DEA lists Kratum as a “drug of concern” due to its abuse potential. Many countries like Thailand have banned the use of Kratum.

Overall, these “legal substitutes” seem to be risky alternatives and because they are legal, many assume that they are “safer” or more “natural” compared to the illegal drugs they are substituting. New policies continue to be implemented that ban these new psychoactive substances and it will continue get harder to have access to these drugs. Safety should always be the number one concern and just because these drugs are legal does not mean they are safe. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 

Fatal Flakka Being Hidden in Children’s Candy

Fatal Flakka Being Hidden in Children’s Candy

Author: Justin Mckibben

Flakka, the streets infamous ‘$5 Insanity’, has transformed the face of fear in drug abuse recently by corrupting minds and demoralizing communities all over the nation. Infecting people with intense hallucinations and hypertension often described as a treacherous drug-induced psychosis, Flakka has been linked to aggressive and violent incidents involving self-harm and vicious attacks, even resulting in murder or death.

How could it get any worse?

Easy… introducing Flakka for kids!

Miami-Dade Police are now calling in reports that the brutal and fatal synthetic Flakka is now being manufactured to look like children’s candy.

Evil in Disguise

During a narcotics bust police authorities initially reported the discovery of what appeared to be candy in a zip lock bag, but upon further investigation of the sugary substance it was determined the candy was laced with a synthetic drug with a composition closely compared to Flakka or Bath Salts, both infamously credited to strange and appalling crimes.

The synthetic chemical discovered is a crystal-like drug known to be cheap, addictive, and deadly. When used this evil is disguise can be ingested in various ways, including:

  • Swallowed
  • Smoked
  • Injected

Narcotics detectives involved in the investigation have stated in this case the drug was used to imitate the sugar-coating of the candy, looking almost identical to the name-brand gummy candies you can find at any grocery store or gas station. What gave it away was they were stickier in texture and individually wrapped in the bag.

The sick dealers behind disguising these lethal drugs as sugary sweets crushed up the crystalized chemicals, then rolled sticky candy in the powder to make a product practically identical to the commercial counterpart, which has police clamoring to take action against such an deceptive and despicable tactic.

Detective Daniel Ferrin with Miami-Dade Police issued a statement in which he said,

“It’s always a cat and mouse game. These are all things we want to make sure, if we see it out on the street…make sure to stay away from it.”

Police also urge anyone with any information at all about this drug to please contact Miami-Dade Crimestoppers.

Trying to Keep Kids Safe

Thankfully so far this is the only case reported in Miami-Dade of this occurrence, but police are still actively doing their best to alert communities about the dangers of this substance and to be vigilant when it comes to their children.

The authorities have said new versions of these drugs are constantly being created to avoid arrest, and this is true across the country as the makers of synthetic drugs do their best to stay under the radar by relabeling, renaming and even chemically altering the drugs to slip through loopholes. These drugs target kids, so local officials and law enforcement want parents to know what’s out there hidden in plain sight.

Reading this kind of news is so disturbing because it exposes us to an ugly reality of drug dealers who are careless in their efforts to profit off of poisoning children. Then we are forced to ask how long this specific drug ring was able to stay in business before it was found and shut down.

How many people did it supply drugs to?

How many of those people were young children?

Then the scarier reality starts to settle in behind all these questions: who else out there is doing it?

Surely this isn’t the only time we are going to see synthetic drugs like Flakka being mixed in with otherwise harmless products to conceal the corrosive concoction that can cause a serious health catastrophe for adults and children, so what else out there could be putting kids at risk?

Drugs like Flakka and Bath Salts are as dangerous as other drugs, if not more because their ingredients are less than trustworthy, and being called ‘safe alternatives’ is a false statement synthetics are labeled with to sell to young people. These drugs are disastrous and can turn fatal, but no addict has to suffer this way. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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