By Cheryl Steinberg
Called “$5 Insanity” on the streets, Flakka – a relatively new designer drug that’s scourging the Florida landscape – is known as such because it’s cheap and it causes intense delusions, ergo ‘insanity.’ It’s these hallucinations that users seek out but that others are pointing to as cause for concern.
Flakka can also be snorted, injected, or eaten; however, vaporizing flakka, which is the most popular method among teens because it is difficult to detect – giving off no odor – might seem like the lesser of all the other evils when it comes to how people are using the drug. In fact, the opposite is true. Flakka is a controlled substance that runs the risk of causing death in its users and this is especially true when it is used via vaping, using an e-cig or vaporizer.
Your Brain on Drugs: Flakka
Flakka causes what can be described as excited delirium, which results from the drug’s ability to produce hyperstimulation and hallucinations in it users. However, paranoia is another major feature of the effects flakka has on its users. It is this paranoia that often leads to aggressive and violent behaviors and even self-injury.
Among those needing medical attention, common reactions include cardiac symptoms and psychiatric symptoms.
Flakka and Suicide and Death
The use of flakka has been contributed to some cases of suicide and heart attack, and its use can even result in death. Flakka, like other stimulants, raises the user’s body temperature to a dangerously high temperature – as much as 106 degrees, a condition known as hyperthermia. This condition can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure, as well as other organ damage.
Flakka and Vaping
As disturbing as the drug is, going by recent incidents involving flakka, experts and law enforcement officials are particularly concerned about young people using their vapes to ingest the synthetic drug. Vaping allows Flakka to directly enter the bloodstream, which is an aspect that makes it particularly easy to overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Flakka: The New Bath Salt Drug
The main active ingredient in flakka, known as alpha-PVP, is so chemically similar to other synthetic, designer drugs, categorically known as bath salts. If you recall, bath salts led to 23,000 emergency room visits in one year nationwide, and 67% of those cases involved a combination of bath salts and other drugs.
An Associated Press (AP) article records the recent spike in the use of flakka since its 2003 initiation into the Florida drug scene and it’s astonishing. The Florida State Department of Law Enforcement crime labs say submissions for testing suspected Flakka drug seizures have grown from 38 submissions in 2013 to a staggering 228 by the following year.
Even more astonishing is the fact that flakka submissions grew from less than 200 in 2014 to 275 in just the first three months of this year, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Two recent stories you may have heard involving flakka may otherwise be a humorous situation but, in reality, are really quite sad. Both cases involved naked men who perceived that they were running for their lives. In one case, the man believed he was the mythical god Thor and was trying to have sex with a tree; the other case, involved a naked man running down a busy street believing himself pursued by a pack of German shepherds. Yet another disturbing story involving Flakka had one man, who, convinced people were chasing him, impaled himself on a fence.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, such as substance dependence or addiction, it’s never too late to reach out for help. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are available 24/7 to take your call. All calls are professional, confidential, and anonymous.
image credit: http://alternativehighs.blogspot.com/
December 29, West Sussex, England – A 19 year old college student who was home during semester break attacked his mother and then himself, cutting off his own penis, the UK publication The Daily Mail reports.
Police say the teen was high on a party drug commonly known as “meow meow” at the time of the attack. When the police arrived, the teen, who has not been named, was hanging from a window at the home with a noticeably “bloody groin.”
A family friend told the Mirror, another UK publication, that the student is generally “lovely lad” who had started experimenting with drugs while in college. It is believed that the attack occurred because of his being intoxicated with the synthetic drug known as meow meow.
Both mother and son were admitted to the hospital in critical condition and are, according to reports, now in stable condition. It is reported that the young man’s penis has been re-attached.
Meow meow is one of several street names, just like “bath salts,” “drone,” “plant food,” and “MCAT,” for the synthetic drug called mephedrone – a man-made stimulant with effects supposedly similar to cocaine, ecstasy, and other amphetamines. Users say mephedrone has the same euphoric effects as ecstasy, but with the short-lived ‘high’ off a line of coke.
However, just like with amphetamines, mephedrone can also cause anxiety and paranoia.
Other side-effects are even more disturbing and include headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, high blood pressure, burning sensation of the throat, nose bleeds and purple joints, (especially the hands and knees).
Mephedrone is chemically similar to compounds of the khat plant, found in eastern Africa, and became popular among club scene kids as a more easily available and (at the time) legal replacement for MDMA, or “molly,” the pure form of the designer drug known as Ecstasy.
Astonishingly, it is thought that at least one person a week dies after taking mephedrone. In the UK, mephedrone was legal until 2010. It is now a class B drug which makes it illegal to sell and possess meow meow throughout the UK.
Synthesis of Meow Meow
Mephedrone is reported to be manufactured in China and comes in the form of tablets or a powder, which users can swallow, snort or inject.
Although mephedrone is referred to as a “new party drug,” it was first synthesized back in 1929. However, it did not become widely known until it was rediscovered in 2003. By 2007, mephedrone could be purchased online, by 2008 law enforcement agencies had become increasingly aware of the drug and, by 2010, was found in most of Europe, and especially in the United Kingdom.
Mephedrone was first made illegal in 2008 in Israel, followed by Sweden later that year. In 2010, it was made illegal in many European countries and in December 2010, the European Union ruled it illegal. In Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., mephedrone is considered similar to other illegal drugs and can therefore be controlled by laws like the Federal Analog Act. In September 2011, the United States temporarily classified mephedrone as illegal, effective of October of 2011. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Meth, over the years, has gained quite the reputation. We all know the physical signs of meth due to ads and billboards featuring before and after pictures of people on meth aka The Meth Project. And bath salts? Well, bath salts gained notoriety pretty quick due to the little incident of one man eating another man’s face that gave every zombie fan everywhere something to worry about. Luckily, last year’s cannibalism was a false alarm on the zombie apocalypse even though all the warnings about bath salts weren’t and well meth is still going steady as it always has. Today substance showdown is between two heavy hitters: Bath salts and meth. Who will be the winner?
This is a substance showdown: Bath Salts vs. Meth
The two substances, bath salts and meth will go head to head for three rounds based on: health effects, insidiousness and legality, and withdrawal. The winner is the worst of each category and the winner will be the one who wins the most categories. Let’s see who comes out on top in today’s VS BATH SALTS vs. METH!
ROUND 1: HEALTH EFFECTS
- Bath salts effects tend to last about three or four hours, but rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure and other effects of a stimulant may last longer.
- High doses have caused intense and extended panic attacks in some people. Since this drug is a stimulant, it tends to disrupt sleep. A person who takes the drug frequently may suffer from sleep-deprivation psychosis. Addiction is also a very likely effect.
- Mentally, the user will experience euphoria, alertness, anxiety and agitation. He will probably not feel hungry. He may have a headache, tense muscles, increased body temperature, nosebleeds and dilated pupils. He may also be dizzy and confused and may grind his teeth. But those are the milder effects.
- The more serious effects include fits, hallucinations, aggression, suicidal thoughts or attempts and psychotic delusions. Physically, a person can experience liver failure, kidney failure, and loss of bowel control, and rhabdomyolysis which is a spontaneous breakdown of muscle fiber that can lead to death.
- Tragically, one of the effects of bath salts abuse is death, either because of the direct effect of the drug or because of a person’s actions. In March 2011, a young man in New Jersey killed his girlfriend while he was under the influence of bath salts. A young woman who injected bath salts lost the arm the drugs were injected into, her shoulder, breast and other tissue after a flesh-eating bacteria destroyed the muscles in that part of her body. She survived. A young man in Louisiana thought his house was surrounded by police and tried to cut his own throat. His family stopped him and the cut was stitched up, but he succeeded in shooting himself the next day. These are only a few of the many stories of self-destruction and harm resulting from bath salts.
In 2010, there were 304 calls to poison control centers about this drug, but more than 6,000 in 2011. Since the drugs have been banned in 31 states, there have only been 2,250 in the first six months of 2012.
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
- Dilation of pupils
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
- Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures and death from high doses
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Destruction of tissues in nose if sniffed
- Respiratory (breathing) problems if smoked
- Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
- Malnutrition, weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
- Strong psychological dependence
- Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and epilepsy
- Collapse or death
ROUND 1 HEALTH EFFECTS: WINNER IS NEITHER IT IS A DRAW
ROUND 2 INSIDIOUSNESS AND LEGALITY
Meth: Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs such as marijuana, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. Meth is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Meth has little to no insidiousness because it is well known in its effects and addictiveness. Most people have seen The Meth Project’s before and after photos of meth users either on T.V., on billboards, on the internet or maybe even in their D.A.R.E class. Most people who end up smoking meth know the horrors and dangers of it but think either it can’t or won’t happen again. As some of us have heard before the saying “just once” is what most future meth addicts say. This doesn’t make meth insidious. Although on a little side note, I was kind of surprised to find out that Schedule II substance along with prescription narcotics. I don’t know if this is supposed to be saying meth isn’t that dangerous or that prescription narcotics are more dangerous than people like to think.
Bath Salts: In July 2012, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act made it illegal to possess, use, or distribute many of the chemicals used to make bath salts, including Mephedrone and MDPV. Methylone, another such chemical, remains under a DEA regulatory ban. In all, the law covers 26 chemicals, all of them ingredients in synthetic drugs. This wasn’t always the case though. At some point bath salts were legal. And many new and different chemical formulas of bath salts are legal because the makers find loopholes in the DEA ban of chemicals. This made and still makes bath salts very insidious. Bath salts because of their legality were and still are assumed by many users to be “less bad” than other substances. Also, bath salts would seem “safer” because they are manufactured-this just isn’t so. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is safe and also, just because as we are all learning, something is manufactured it doesn’t mean it is safe either. All legality and manufacturing does for bath salts, is make it sneakier. I mean if we look at the health effects of bath salts, quite obviously they are not safe. So why are so many people continuing to use them? In many cases the answer to this question is because of the legality. I mean even the name for this potent substance gives it the feeling of being “light” or “not dangerous”, bath salts? I mean, c’mon. It is manufactured to sound safe. This makes bath salts ridiculously insidious. Bath salts are like the highest trained assassins that aren’t even human (kind of like the Terminator) and they are trained to kill and nearly incapable of being stopped.
THE WINNER OF ROUND 2 IS BATH SALTS Bath salts are much more insidious than meth. The dangers of meth are well documented and meth is very illegal. Bath salts not only are questionable in their chemical makeup, but are also marketed to seem safe as well as being legal or sold in legal places not on the street.
ROUND 3 ADDICTIVENESS AND WITHDRAWAL
Meth: Methamphetamine can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected. The user will experience a sudden “rush” of pleasure directly after smoking or injecting the drug. This sensation only lasts for about a minute or two while the effects of meth can last from 30 minutes to 12 hours. Meth also has a high risk of dependency in users. If the user becomes dependent, they need more and more of the substance to feel the high. Methamphetamine withdrawal varies depending on the level of addiction and frequency of meth use.
1. Depression: It can be very difficult to deal with the mental anguish that you obtain from meth. Withdrawal from methamphetamine has been associated with depression.
2. Fatigue: Once an individual stops using meth they can become extremely tired. Without the artificial source of energy, the person begins to feel uncomfortable and deprived of energy.
3. Changes in Heart Rhythm: Methamphetamine is a stimulant, and can cause irregular heartbeats. When the addict stops using the drug changes in heart rhythm may occur.
Bath salts: A new study finds that the active ingredient in the drug is more addictive than even methamphetamine, one of the most addictive substances we know. Rats pressed a lever as many as 900 times in an attempt to get a dose of the powerful stimulant, nearly four times the effort they would exert to get a similar dose of highly addictive methamphetamine, according to experiments done at the Scripps Research Institute. While on the drug, the rats exhibited obsessive behaviors, licking biting and sniffing the sides of their cage.
In order to avoid severe bath salts withdrawal symptoms medical intervention and 24-hour medical support is vital, since anti-depressant therapy as well as psychotherapy will be helpful for patients with depressive states due to bath salts. Bath salts withdrawal symptoms are similar to methamphetamine withdrawal.
- Decreased appetite
- Too much sleep or inability to sleep
- Psychotic behaviors
THE WINNER OF ROUND 3 IS BATH SALTS Not a lot is known about bath salts but more is definitely coming out with time. While bath salts are not much worse in the withdrawal category it does seem like the research is pointing towards bath salts being more addictive than meth. This makes bath salts are winner of round three.
AND THE WINNER OF THE SUBSTANCE SHOWDOWN BATH SALTS VS. METH IS. . .
Bath salts may be one of the worst substances out there, end of discussion. Not only because of its health effects but also because of its insidiousness and the maker’s ability to circumvent the laws banning the chemicals used to make it by using other dangerous chemicals. Not only that but the effects of bath salts are not totally well known and because of the legality people assume they may be safer. The addictive potential of bath salts also seems to be gaining some repute with the recent studies on it. This makes bath salts our winning contender in the battle of which substance is worse. If you are thinking you are okay because you bought bath salts in a gas station, think again, you might just want to go hit the streets in search of meth or better yet get sober and stay sober.
Check out our other Substance Showdown blogs:
Alcohol v. Marijuana
Ecstasy v. Molly
Heroin v. Prescription Painkillers
Powder Cocaine v. Crack
If your loved one is in need of Bath Salts or Meth addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
The infamous drug bath salts – a.k.a. the cannibal zombie drug that rose to notoriety last summer– now has some even stronger evidence to its addictive potential. A new study finds that the active ingredient in the drug is more addictive than even methamphetamine, one of the most addictive substances we know.
Rats pressed a lever as many as 900 times in an attempt to get a dose of the powerful stimulant, nearly four times the effort they would exert to get a similar dose of highly addictive methamphetamine, according to experiments done at the Scripps Research Institute. While on the drug, the rats exhibited obsessive behaviors, licking biting and sniffing the sides of their cage.
Bath salts are marketed and sold under the guise of bath additives, which is why they are legal in many states. Law enforcement officials are alarmed at the effects of these drugs, which have been known to cause paranoia and intense hallucinations. Emergency room personnel report that patients who have ingested bath salts are so highly agitated and violent that they sometimes require a whole medical team to restrain them. Sometimes even powerful sedatives are not sufficient in calming these people down. Bath salts started turning up regularly in the United States last year and have proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects.
Bath salts are sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of names, such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” “Scarface,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” Because formulations of bath salts change so often in an attempt to keep ahead of laws prohibiting their manufacture, very little is known about the chemical makeup of the drug. What we do know is that bath salts contain synthetic stimulant drugs of the amphetamine and cathinone classes, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone. Many bath salt users compare their effects to methamphetamine. These drugs are typically administered orally, by insufflation, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration.
Drugs like bath salts and the synthetic cannabis known as “spice” are specifically manufactured to circumvent the laws that regulate legal drugs. Lawmakers are having a hard time regulating bath salts, because manufacturers can slightly tweak the formulation by the time the laws have passed. Some states are now cracking down on the chemicals used to make bath salts, rather than the product itself. At least four states are considering legislation to give the state pharmacy board the authority to ban the sale of the chemicals used to make bath salts.
Experts say much of the US’s bath salt supply is coming from China and India, where chemical manufacturers have less government oversight. Bath salts are labeled “not for human consumption,” which helps them avoid the federal Analog Act, under which any substance “substantially similar” to a banned drug is deemed illegal if it is intended for consumption.
Because bath salts are relatively new to the drug scene, little is known about their long-term effects. Poison control center calls regarding bath salts have increased 10 fold in the last year. The drug has some properties of methamphetamine and cocaine use. In some cases, the use of bath salts has been shown to cause complete psychosis. Medical professionals report dangerously elevated blood pressure and heart rates and people so agitated that their muscles started to break down, releasing chemicals that led to kidney failure. Bath salts have also been known to trigger intense cravings, and have a high potential for abuse and addiction.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for Bath Salt Addiction or Methamphetamine Addiction, give us a call at 800-951-6135. Our crisis counselors are there to answer your call 24/7!
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials on Wednesday announced the results of the “largest-ever” synthetic drug takedown, a bust that included suspects in 35 states and five countries. Agents working in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies served more than 150 arrest warrants. More than 770 pounds of synthetic drugs have been seized in the last three days, the DEA said. It’s become increasingly common, in recent years, for young people to search for legal ways to get high. Manufacturers of synthetic, “legal” drugs like spice and bath salts are raking in the cash by responding to that demand, and law enforcement officials are struggling to respond to the flood of legal drugs on the market. The problem is that these so-called legal drugs can be highly dangerous, and young people around the country are being hospitalized for bad reactions to these “legal” highs. Wednesday also happened to be the same day a UN report was released which highlighted the growing problem with designer drugs. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said, “This is an alarming drug problem – but the drugs are legal,” it said. “Sold openly, including via the Internet, NPS (new psychoactive substances), which have not been tested for safety, can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs.” Names including “spice”, “meow-meow” and “bath salts” mislead young people into believing they are indulging in low-risk fun, UNODC said. However, “the adverse effects and addictive potential of most of these uncontrolled substances are at best poorly understood”, the agency said in an annual survey. Here are the some of the most popular legal ways to get high: 1. “Spice”- Legal pot or synthetic marijuana is known as Spice, K2, Genie Silver and Yucatan Fire. It is sold as “incense” and labeled “not for human consumption.” These herbal mixtures are infused with chemicals that activate the same receptors as marijuana. The side effects, however, are much more drastic. Smoking legal pot can produce a strong high as well as psychosis, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and even death. The American Association of Poison Control has observed over a 50% increase in calls related to legal pot this year compared to last. 2. “Bath Salts”- Bath salts are sold legally online and in drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of names, such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Red Dove,” “Blue Silk,” “Zoom,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Ocean Snow,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” “Scarface,” and “Hurricane Charlie.” Because formulations of bath salts change so often in an attempt to keep ahead of laws prohibiting their manufacture, very little is known about the chemical makeup of the drug. What we do know is that bath salts contain synthetic stimulant drugs of the amphetamine and cathinone classes, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MPDV), mephedrone and pyrovalerone. Many bath salt users compare their effects to methamphetamine. These drugs are typically administered orally, by insufflation, by inhalation, or by injection, with the worst outcomes apparently associated with snorting or intravenous administration. Law enforcement officials are alarmed at the effects of these drugs, which have been known to cause paranoia and intense hallucinations. Emergency room personnel report that patients who have ingested bath salts are so highly agitated and violent that they sometimes require a whole medical team to restrain them. Sometimes even powerful sedatives are not sufficient in calming these people down. Bath started turning up regularly in the United States last year and have proliferated in recent months, alarming doctors, who say they have unusually dangerous and long-lasting effects. 3. “Meow-meow”- “Meow meow” and “MCAT” are street names for the drug mephedrone. Mephedrone is a drug that is of the amphetamine and cathione classes. Its effects are similar to cocaine, amphetamine, and MDMA. The effects come on in a head rush and it can make you feel nauseous. Generally, the effects of one dose last about 2-3 hours. Common side effects include a racing heart, paranoia, and intense hallucinations. Teeth grinding is also very common. Mephedrone comes in the form of tablets or powder which can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected. Almost nothing is known about the long-term effects of these designer drugs. The lethal dose is unknown, and there is no information regarding the potential neurotoxicity of designer drug use. However, based on the studies that have been performed on similar substances, scientists say that it is highly likely that designer drugs have neurotoxic effects. If you or someone you love is using designer drugs, please give us a call at 800-951-6135 Sources: http://news.yahoo.com/lure-variety-designer-drugs-alarming-u-n-agency-081328328.html http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/27/19168766-feds-launch-biggest-crackdown-on-designer-drugs?lite