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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.

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: What is Ketamine?

Ketamine, also called Special K, is popular especially amongst the club culture – ravers, or people who go to underground music festivals known as raves. To better understand what would make effective treatment for Ketamine addiction possible, it is important to know what this drug is and what it can do.

Ketamine is an anesthetic so it works by providing pain relief and sedation. It can induce a trance like state in the user, as well as memory loss. Common side effects include a number of psychological reactions, especially as the user “comes down.” These may include agitation, confusion and psychosis among others. Also, ketamine users commonly experience elevated blood pressure and muscle tremors; and sometimes, spasms of the larynx (throat) may occur.

Ketamine Addiction: Side Effects

  • Cardiovascular: irregular heartbeat, slowing of heartbeat or speeding up of heartbeat, high blood pressure or low blood pressure
  • Central nervous system: Ketamine is traditionally avoided in people with or at risk of intracranial hypertension (ICP) due to concerns about ketamine causing increased pressure on the brain.
  • Dermatologic: rash
  • Gastrointestinal: suppressed appetite, nausea, increased salivation, vomiting
  • Neuromuscular and skeletal: jerking movements
  • Ocular: double vision, increased pressure behind the eyes, rapid eye movement
  • Respiratory: Airway obstruction, slowed breathing or suspended breathing
  • Other: Anaphylaxis, dependence, emergence reaction: Emergence reactions manifest as vivid dreams, hallucinations, and delirium

The ingredients in Ketamine have been implicated in the emergency room visits and deaths of people who assumed they were taking pure MDMA, as it is often cut with it in a club drugs like Ecstasy.

Ketamine is classified as a dissociative like PCP and DXM and causes a sense of detachment from your physical body and the external world, which is known as depersonalization and derealization. At higher doses, users experience what is called the “K-hole,” which is a state of extreme dissociation accompanied by visual and auditory hallucinations

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: Ketamine Withdrawals

With treatment for Ketamine addiction, knowing the withdrawals that can come from excessive Ketamine abuse is important to assisting with that transition.

Common symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Rapid breathing
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Loss of coordination
  • Depression
  • Drug Cravings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Chills, sweating
  • Restlessness, tremors
  • Nightmares, anxiety, depression
  • Irregular and rapid heartbeat

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: Detox

As with most any treatment program, there will be a period of detox in treatment for Ketamine addiction. Detox is the part that most people are afraid to experience, which holds them back from getting the proper treatment, but with a medical detox program in treatment for Ketamine addiction there is often non-narcotic medication used to safely and comfortably wean individuals off of substances.

Trying to go ‘cold-turkey’ is never the easiest or safest way to try and get off any drug, and Ketamine is no exception. The medical staff is there to make sure that detox is completed in a healthy and effective process.

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction: Residential Rehab

After detox, which may last from 4 to 10 days depending on your progress, you will enter the next level of the program offered in treatment for Ketamine addiction. A detox program is too often misunderstood, and is typically not enough on its own to maintain lasting recovery.

Real recovery begins with the residential inpatient rehabilitation level of treatment for Ketamine addiction, called “rehab” for short. This can last anywhere from 30 days to a few months depending on your person recovery plan, which really is only a drop in the bucket compared to a lifetime. At the rehab level, individuals reside in a safe and comfortable environment where all basic needs will be met while they attend groups.

If you are addicted to Ketamine or any other substance, help is available. You can kick the habit and begin living the life you’ve always dreamed of living. Plenty of people have been in your shoes and now are living healthy and happy lives. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Ketamine Chemical Might Help Defeat Depression

Ketamine Chemical Might Help Defeat Depression

Author: Justin Mckibben

The fight against depression and other mental health and behavioral disorders if one that is constantly changing, and while new innovations are made offering new hope, some may appear more questionable, and maybe even more harmful than most others. Now there is a fast-acting antidepressant that supposedly works like the infamous club drug ketamine, and it is rumored to be able elevate an individual’s mood in just 24 hours according to researchers. Is this going to be a courageous leap in the right direction, or is the idea of comparing it to a club drug a little scary?

The Antidepressant Problem

Though this new drug is still in the early stages of development it does show promise for the treatment of a mental health disorder experienced by least 10 percent of American adults. This new experimental drug also is said to solve a significant problem with antidepressants currently on the market. At the moment all approved depression drugs can take up to a month to take effect on the patient, meaning patients must wait before feeling any significant relief from their condition.

Another problem is there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ antidepressant. Sometimes prescribing the right medication for an individual can be an issue of trial and error, and weeks of time may disappear while waiting for pharmaceutical benefit, which only further delays this process. While depression is often a long-term illness, there are shorter-term cases for which a month-long wait just doesn’t make sense, and may often be too late for some severe cases.

So the idea of an antidepressant that does not take so long to work could help people more quickly and expedite the drug selection process. Another issue is that doctors prescribe most patients an anti-anxiety medication from a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Xanax, as an example, is one that is far from ideal as they only treat some symptoms, and are highly addictive.

Jefferey Talbot, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Roseman University of Health Sciences concluded that there hasn’t been a “fundamentally different antidepressant medication for decades, perhaps even 30 years.” Talbot explains that a new drug might actually be able to help those resistant to current therapies. Talbot is a member of the team researching this new drug, collaborating with researchers at Duquesne University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“They’re good drugs and they’re relatively safe and well tolerated, but they’re surprisingly ineffective in a large number of patients.”

What’s so Special K

Scientists worldwide have become increasingly interested in the idea of a fast-acting antidepressant, according to Talbot. Some teams even tried treating some depression patients with ketamine. The drug Katemine, or “Special K” by its street name, is a veterinary anesthetic that became a prominent recreational drug during the 1990’s rave scene because of its hallucinogenic properties.

“[Ketamine] provides anti-depressant relief in about 24 hours. But it has abuse potential and from a therapeutic standpoint, it doesn’t work well orally.”

Talbot says this ketamine research ultimately tipped off researchers to the idea that drugs “that act like it from a mechanistic standpoint” could have a similar therapeutic effect. That mechanism prevents the brain from breaking down three key neurotransmitters:

  • Serotonin
  • Norepinephrine
  • Dopamine

When these 3 chemicals are released into the brain, they are known to generate feelings of positivity and happiness. In brain science parlance, this mechanism is called “reuptake inhibition.” Most antidepressants on the market prevent the reuptake of one or two but not all three. So a ketamine-modeled solution that works on all three could be an absolute revelation! At this point, this medication has only been animal tested.

Therapeutic Perspectives

Talbot is quick to point out that his team isn’t the first to identify this drug or argue for its therapeutic potential, but thinks the real novelty identified in their research is that it provides both short-term and long-term relief. For patients, this would mean that the same drug addressing their symptoms almost immediately could also be used for long-term relief.

Dr. Peter Kramer, psychiatrist and faculty member of Brown Medical School who wrote Listening to Prozac in 1993, was a bit skeptical of the premise that a fast-acting antidepressant is watershed. Kramer acknowledges that current antidepressants typically take between two and four weeks to work fully. At the same time, says Kramer, some studies show that certain antidepressants can have minor impacts on mood within “three to four hours.” His book Listening to Prozac is said to be an astonishing and ground-breaking book that explored the philosophical ramifications of these types of drugs.

Another caution with dealing with the idea of fast-acting antidepressants: clinical depression is a class of mental illnesses that takes time in itself to diagnose and treat. A patient must feel “discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general” for more than two weeks before a doctor can determine whether it’s merely a case of the blues or clinical depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Even with shorter-term cases the most effective method of treatment for any condition requiring medications includes psychotherapy. Of course it should be obvious that simply throwing pills at a serious problem like depression should not be the only answer for anyone. In 2008 a study showed that combination of the two factors of therapy can lead to quicker remission from chronic depression than either psychotherapy or medication alone. At the same time, one shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that fast relief from symptoms of depression could help an individual to forgo further treatment, and possibly avoid even more drastic effects like suicide, which remains the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Regardless of the chemical origins of this medication, if it is a possibility to further the development of quicker forms of treating depression in order to change and maybe save lives. Still there may be some concern with the effects of ketamine chemicals being used, and how this drug may affect the mind of an addict. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

In the News: Colleges Crack Down on Drugs and Alcohol

College: a time during which certain rights of passage occur, namely, binge drinking and experimenting with other drugs. Of course, it doesn’t have to be but, for many Americans, their times spent on college campuses is one filled with books and booze (and some other substances in the mix, too).

For this blogger, that was certainly the case. I started out with alcohol and weed in high school and, by the time I got to college, I was trying out many different things: mostly designer drugs, such as Ecstasy, Special K (ketamine), and LSD. Weed was always my constant, though, and I began to drink less and less.

That was in the early 2000s. More recently, colleges and universities have begun to take alcohol and other drug use on their campuses more seriously.  Alcohol and drug offenses are being more aggressively pursued and punished. And this even as the rate of serious crime on college campuses has dropped, according to a government report released Tuesday.

A federal law known as the Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report crime data, however, compliance is inconsistent across the board, and those who advocate on behalf of victims of campus crime say that many institutions of higher learning are either disorganized or intentionally misleading with their reporting.

The annual report from the Education and Justice Departments found that in 2011, colleges and universities started disciplinary proceedings for alcohol or drug offenses against 162 of every 10,000 students, not including those who were arrested. That was up from 132 in 2001.

Over that same interval, the rate of students being arrested on campus for alcohol- or other drug- related crimes was pretty consistent at 35 per 10,000 in 2011. The report did not differentiate between arrests by campus police officers and by outside law enforcement agencies, or indicate how often colleges called in outside police officers.

S. Daniel Carter, of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to campus safety said that the increase in disciplinary actions “doesn’t reflect actual increased offenses; it’s about stepped-up enforcement. Typically, when something gets to the point of a liquor law violation being enforced, it’s not just a kid having a beer in his room — it has escalated to something bigger.”

According to statistics, there was a sharp decline in reports of serious crimes on campuses but, campus safety specialists cautioned that, while there had been somewhat of a drop, the figures shouldn’t be taken at face value. In fact, according to these specialists, much of the decline was a result of new guidelines from the Education Department on how to define the most common of the serious crimes, which is burglary.

The reported rate rose in just one category of serious crimes, forcible sex offenses — from 1.9 in 2010 to 2.2 per 10,000 the following year. Specialists attributed this increase to victims being more forthcoming with being victimized and making reports.

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, which is a major organization of colleges and universities said, “I think it’s very difficult to look at all of these numbers and draw really precise conclusions.” He added that the exception is that “college and university officials are paying more attention to alcohol and drugs.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Can You Become Addicted to “Club Drugs”?

Can you become addicted to club drugs

As much as party goers, ravers, and clubbers would like to believe that “club drugs” aren’t addictive that just isn’t the truth. Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine, Molly, and Rohypnol are all addictive.

The effects of club drugs

The term “club drugs” refers to a wide variety of drugs often used at all night parties (“raves”), nightclubs, and concerts. Club drugs can damage neurons in the brain and can impair the senses, memory, judgment and coordination. Club drugs also can have different effects on the body. Some common effects of club drugs are loss of muscle control and motor control, blurred vision, and seizures. Club drugs like ecstasy are also stimulants that can increase heart rate and blood pressure and can also lead to heart or kidney failure. Other club drugs like GHB are central nervous system depressants that can cause drowsiness, unconsciousness or breathing problems.

Club drugs also affect a person’s self-control. Many club drugs like GHB and Rohypnol are used in date rape incidences because they are sedatives that can make a person unconscious and immobilize them. Rohypnol or “roofies” can cause a kind of amnesia where users may or may not remember what they said or did while under the influence of the drugs. Club drugs are also risky because it is never certain to know exactly what chemicals were used to produce them. For instance, many ecstasy pills will have methamphetamine in them and the amount of each varies each time. And last but not least, club drugs in the worst case scenario can be fatal. High doses of club drugs can cause severe breathing doses, coma or even death.

So can you become addicted to “club drugs”?

Absolutely. Many club drugs such as ecstasy and even molly can have methamphetamine (“meth”), speed, cocaine or even heroin, which is very addictive in them. People also can become addicted if they use GHB, Ketamine repeatedly. These drugs can cause severe and long-lasting symptoms. Even if someone doesn’t become physically addicted to club drugs they can become psychologically addicted to the feeling the drugs produce. IT is also possible for a person who is taking club drugs to begin developing a tolerance the drugs and this is the beginning of a physical or psychological addict or both. Tolerance to club drugs means that the club drug user has to take more and more of the substance to achieve the same effects as before. This can lead to not only an addiction, physically or psychologically, but can also make using club drugs much more dangerous. The biggest danger though with becoming addicted to club drugs is taking a club drug such as ecstasy frequently and regularly and then finding out that it isn’t ecstasy you are now addicted to but meth or heroin if that is what your MDMA is cut with. That can be really scary.

So if you are wondering if you can become addicted to club drugs the answer is yes. Whether it is psychologically or physically or even to another substance that is in the club drugs, the truth is you can become addicted to club drugs.

If you or your loved one is in need of treatment Club Drug Addiction please give us a call at 800-951-6135.


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