You know how it is with these popular party drugs- new ones keep surfacing and enticing gullible youth who use these products without any concern for their health or a single thought for consequences. One new such hit in the market is the Flakka Drug that also goes by many other names including Gravel, The Zombie Drug, Bathing Salts, etc.
Since its arrival in the market, it has led to significant amounts of panic and hype that is not new to similar dangerous party hallucinogens. In this article let us try to understand how reliable are the rumors that have surfaced regarding these drugs and how much of this panic is worth it.
For that we must first ask ourselves;
What is The Flakka Drug?
Originally developed in the 1960’s, the Flakka Drug’s real name is alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone or alpha-PVP. It is a synthetic street drug that led to significant amounts of panic in 2014 and onwards.
It is said to be a part of the well-known group of drugs termed as BATH SALTS and assumed to be the combination of either heroin and crack or heroin and methamphetamines. But there is no actual scientific evidence to attribute to this.
In The News
According to the latest news reports the Flakka drugs are being sold disguised as candy that looks like the ones sold normally among other confectionaries in shops.
It was initially being produced in labs in China and exported worldwide- however, due to the adverse consequences and international pressure from the US- led to stopping the manufacture (legal) and export of Gravel.
These manufactures avoid legal consequences by slightly modifying the chemical composition of the drug with each batch that is manufactured so that the effects and addiction towards the drug remain the same and delivers the very same impact to the users.
Disturbing news reports from Missouri have noted people under the influence streaking (running unclothed) through the streets and wreaking havoc by breaking into people’s homes and shops with no regard to public decorum or privacy.
Since this is a relatively new drug and sufficient information is yet to be obtained on a full account of all the effects of the drug on a person- and how it varies from person to person; the doctors in the hospitals whose ERs are now filling up with such patients are left helpless and the entire staff remain to be in danger from these patients as well.
Less than a month ago, news reports of people who were barking on the streets and streaking along damaging public property came to light. According to local experts, the panic among the crowds is justified given that the drug can cause uncontrollable bouts of rage and murderous tendencies among the consumers who then pose a threat to their families along with the society as a whole.
Compared to other party drugs like heroin and cocaine, the price of Flakka drug is much cheaper, thereby adding to the immense popularity of the same.
Following the nation-wide ban of the drug in 2012 by the US, new and rather creative methods of reaching the drugs to the customers surfaced where using wrong labels and captions such as ‘not for consumption by humans’, the exporters tried to subvert the law.
A not so recent yet horrific incident involving a Florida University student came into the picture when the student, under the influence of the Flakka Drug killed two people who just happened to be in his vicinity and then proceeded to try and eat one of the victim’s face- however the lab results that did not confirm the presence of the drug in his system.
(Source- Fox News) Read More: Flakka, drug that makes people bark and strip, wreaks havoc in Midwest, South
Effects Of Flakka On The Body
The effects of the Flakka Drug can either be short lasting- last anywhere between two to five hours or it can take as long as a few days for the effects to wear off. The duration of the effects depends upon the amount of drug that has been used, whether it has been used with any other substance- such as cocaine or heroin which would increase the effects of the drugs in intensity and make them long lasting since then all of the substances shall have to be filtered out of the body. We are unsure about the combined effects of alcohol and the flakka drug as of now.
The Short-term and Immediate Effects of Flakka are rather Similar to that of Cocaine and Meth, and this includes
- Unexplained and uncontrollable feeling of unlimited happiness for no reason and out of the blue- Euphoria or ecstasy. Bliss is experienced along with a feeling of total contentedness.
- What is confusing is despite the euphoria, aggression sets are which makes the consumer feel frustrated and angry for no explainable reason- this may result in them expressing violent behavior and causing physical harm to themselves and the people who are around them.
- A heightened sense of awareness is set in and the consumer becomes more alert than usual. This will lead to them being unreasonably afraid of most things- paranoia. Despite being more alert and watchful they are not in their senses entirely.
- A medical examination shall point to elevated blood pressure levels, that could be due to as well as contributing to the aggressive behavior. Along with this, the abuser may experience a condition that is known as Palpitations- wherein he or she is aware of their own heartbeat. There is also tachycardia- increased heart rate and pulse count.
- Hallucinations- auditory and visual can occur.
One of the main reasons to be addicted to this drug is that during a period of non-usage- known as withdrawal period the patient experiences a sensation of lowness- called withdrawal effects.
These withdrawal effects include severe depression and tiredness. Since many people undergo severe withdrawal symptoms they often resort back to drug use in order to escape the overwhelming depression- and this, in turn, becomes a vicious cycle- hence even attempting the drug once is a very bad idea.
Also, along with the long-term use of the drug, the body develops tolerance towards it which means that the person will require larger doses of the drug in order to experience the same feeling of euphoria- and long-term increased use of the drug can lead to several complications.
Overdoses can lead to end-stage renal failure which can lead to death. This happens due to abruptly increased body temperature- hyperthermia which causes degeneration of proteins present in the muscles to break down which are not filtered by the kidneys and end up causing damage to them.
The Long-Term Effects of the Flakka Drug are as follows:
- The prolonged use of the drug has the same effects as overdose does on the kidneys and thus ends up causing permanent damage to them.
- The long-term use of this drug can lead to reshaping the original structure of the brain and thereby affecting all mental faculties including long-term and short-term memory. The damages caused may have degenerated the brain tissue if it is too late.
- Dependence is what causes the people to be addicted to the substance and this develops following many cycles of withdrawal and obtainment of the drug and is characterized by the high tolerance.
Treatment and Deaddiction
The most important hurdle to cross for any drug therapy is to overcome the addiction and to outlive the withdrawal sessions. The following steps are used to rehabilitate a person back to normal life in the society.
- DETOXIFICATION- This literally means removing the toxic substance from the body. The body is allowed the time it would naturally take using the renal and liver systems to remove the drugs from the body. During this period the person may experience a variety of rather severe withdrawal symptoms- depending on the severity of which they may need to be managed medically- the pain and mental break down are managed and the patient is made as comfortable as they can be with professionals and equipment ready to deal with any complication that may occur.
- Following successful detoxification, the next battle is against the dependency and this is done using behavioral therapies and modifications that have been proven to be successful many times- an example of this is cognitive behavioral therapy. Group therapies, counseling, participating in support group sessions have all shown to be useful.
For a patient to successfully recover from their addiction to such substances, they must be given all the support possible from their families and the society must be open-minded in accepting them back so that they can lead a relatively normal life.
Since now we know about the harmful effects of Flakka drug and just how dangerous they can be we can safely conclude it is, in fact, dangerous to even attempt the substance once and one must always exercise caution and common sense when it comes to such situations.
Never accept anything offered by complete strangers for no reasons as this could be a method to use innocent people to do their criminal biddings. Always stay aware of contact helplines and try to recognize the symptoms when someone is under the influence so you can get them the help they need.