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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

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

Drugs that Make You Want to Die

Drugs that Make You Want to Die

Author: Justin Mckibben

Why do drug addicts use? Well typically we addicts are using with the intention to get high. But what usually happens is the drugs take us to our lowest lows, and I say that speaking from experience. When using drugs, we addicts tend to be chasing a feeling of euphoria that we feel our lives are missing. However a lot of the drugs that are more commonly abused, and more frequently create debilitating addictions, are said to be more prone to fuel depression and even thoughts of suicide.

New research says people who consume excessive amounts of alcohol, take speedy drugs, or use opiates actually tend to teeter off the existential edge of an emotional cliff even more than previously thought. While this is not necessarily the rule of thumb, it is still relevant to those at risk. So which drugs according to this research are said to be prone to insight suicidal ideation?


Last year Didier Jutras-Aswad at the University of Montreal concluded after a study that,

“Users of stimulants [amphetamines] and cocaine appear at particularly high risk of suicide attempt.”

While the drugs themselves are not entirely guilty as much as the neurobiological, behavioral and social differences between people who take them, it is still a factor.

According to Jutras-Aswad users who take uppers tend to be more impulsive and moody than the rest of the population. In another study:

  • 5% of cocaine addicts admitted to trying to kill themselves

People who use cocaine are expected to go from one extreme to another much quicker. So one could jump from feeling miserable on the couch to actually taking action to hurt themselves under the influence of a powerful stimulant.


Some of the most traumatic stories of amphetamine use and death come from prescription varieties such as Adderall. A lot of people develop a tolerance for this kind of drug and then take more, but whether it is that or the recommended dosage, people who use Adderall and similar drugs have said that they experience bursts of energy both physically and mentally, with alertness and focus that drives them to tackle many tasks. But once they begin to come down, they feel the lag both mentally and physically.

A lot of times the loss of focus, energy and excitement will cause depression to settle in, and even make life seem more unmanageable and futile than ever. Many consider suicide when having to deal with life on life’s terms with the drugs, and the come down in comparison to being on that stimulated high can make matters worse.


Alcohol is classified as a depressant, so this should come as no shock, but in case you don’t know, it’s definitely on the list. Alcohol becomes a deadlier element in this arena because it overcomes inhibitions, so it can eliminate the filter between our feelings and our actions, making it a far more dangerous downer. People who drink heavily are estimated to have:

  • 5 times the suicide risk of social drinkers
  • 40% of full-on alcoholics say they’ve tried to kill themselves at least once

It turns out you can assess a drinker’s suicide risk based on various other factors such as:

  • How much they drink
  • If they’re depressed
  • Have alcoholics in the family
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Sleep patterns

One alcohol-and-suicide study found insomnia was a “mediating” factor, and that insomnia can make a large contribution to suicidal ideation, only exaggerating an individual’s depression.


There is still some disagreement about which of the opiate class of drugs belong on the suicide-watch list, but being a former opiate addict I figured I would throw opiates on this list just from my own personal experience as an opinionated warning. Some scientists consider opiates as a suicide-inspiring drug, including:

  • Prescription painkillers
  • Heroin
  • Sedative-hypnotic medications (barbiturates and benzodiazepines)
  • Other antidepressants

Others scientists are not yet convinced, but it can’t hurt to consider that maybe, just maybe, another drug in the ‘depressant’ class would be bad for someone who suffers from depression.


Synthetic drugs such as ‘Spice’, ‘K2’ and ‘Flakka’ (with names subject to change) have recently been making more waves for their unpredictably dangerous and increasingly life-threatening effects that are both poisoning to the body and the mind.

There have been countless reports over the last few years of the types of psychotic episodes some people have experience and the lives that have been drastically effected by these strange chemical cocktails.

Kimberley Plumley said of her 20-year-old son Joseph Signorelli was just one victim out of the numerous stories of shocking suicide linked to synthetics. Plumley claimed her son tried to quit using the addictive synthetic drug ‘Spice’, but the withdrawals were too intense.

“My son was depressed. He could not eat. He could not sleep,”

Her son took his own life last year after a psychological battle she claims was brought on by the substance.

While these affects need to be looked into to further understand where these drugs cause a mental break, there is plenty of reason to suspect they are hazardous to mental health, especially to those already at risk, and belong on this list.

What about Marijuana?

Now I know this sounds a bit off, but with the story last month of a 23-year-old man who shot himself in Colorado after eating lots of pot-laced candy, which the his family blames for his death, we should at least acknowledge the current argument, same as opiates.

Considering the growing reform and marijuana’s legalization in some states, along with a whole industry of pot snacks and hospitality services, this one should be something we are willing to examine thoroughly.

But let it be noted that there has never been much evidence about the drug either encouraging or discouraging suicide.

The Hard Truth

Now let’s consider this from another perspective. While it may seem easier to blame problems on drugs, usually there is also something else going on that inspires these tragedies. Some substances definitely corrupt our reasoning and mental stability to greater extremes than others, but in the end suicide is far too complex to try and credit that kind of tragic logic down to one substance.

As a former addict, as a suicide survivor and as someone who has lost many friends to both addiction and suicide, I would say that these kinds of presumptions are not without any sustenance, but the hard truth in my experience is that suicide is a lot more personal. We can’t take to blaming the drugs, because more often than not the drugs are just a symptom of a much more intrinsic issue that we have to acknowledge.

Just like blaming drug use on other factors of life, in my experience the real purpose is the feeling. The want to be in control of it… or numb to it. The desire to feel something at all… or nothing at all. There is so much more than what we can see in front of us when consumed by depression and drugs, so to say the drugs are the only contributor to suicide is to ignore the nature of depression and further stigmatize it. While this list is meant to point out the contribution drugs make to suicidal ideation, it is more or less to bring attention to how these illnesses harmonize, and ask what else can be done to treat them.

There is an amazing life waiting for us all, but we have to be willing to take some action, and responsibility, in order to get there. It all begins with a decision, and that decision can be just to reach out. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135


Your Brain on Drugs: Flakka

Your Brain on Drugs: Flakka

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.

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