Doesn't this sound fun: You're running a fever of 106, sweating like a pig, and scared to death as you run from imaginary pursuers. This is how people react to flakka, the completely legal cousin of bath salts. Needless to say, the drug is complete insanity -- and it only costs $5.
"Longtime addicts who have tried flakka, they're terrified of it," said Broward County Sheriff's Office treatment counselor Don Maines, according to the New York Daily News. "They can't think straight, they're paranoid, they think people are chasing them. One guy thought he was surrounded by German shepherds that were attacking him."
Here's more insanity: A Fort Lauderdale man high on flakka ran naked through the streets and into traffic because he was being chased by the people who stole all his clothes. If he got run over by a car, he told police, they'd leave him alone, the Huffington Post added.
This is just one of a many stories piling up about flakka across Florida, Ohio, and Texas, and its effects on the human brain. So what exactly is this insanity?
According to Forbes, $5 flakka, also called "gravel," is so desirable because it creates a sustained high, or "excited delirium," sometimes for several days. The "amphetamine-like stimulant" is made a compound called alpha-PVP – a newer version of the active ingredient in bath salts. However, unlike its famous cousin, PVP hasn't yet been banned. That also makes flakka pretty desirable. Flakka can be ingested pretty much every way you can think of – swallowed, snorted, injected, or vaped. The $5 drug has been brought into the U.S. from China, Pakistan, and India.
Not only is it causing utter insanity in Fort Lauderdale, for instance, it does a number on the human body – high temperatures, kidney damage and failure, not to mention the horrifying psychological effects, like severe anxiety, paranoia, delusions, psychosis, violence, hallucinations, and increased strength.
Yet more insanity from Fort Lauderdale: A man tried to break into the front door of the police headquarters. He also thought he was being chased, and ran to police for help, Fox6 reported.
"(Flakka) is stimulating their brain making them think there may be people chasing them, people after them, maybe the devil is trying to get them, take their heart out," Florida doc Nabil El Sanadi said, according to the Daily News.
But doctors really don't understand too much about flakka, so they have to compare to other narcotics; the closest comparison is cocaine and amphetamines, so appealing for their twin effects of euphoria and alertness, added Business Insider.
For now, flakka has only been seen in Florida, Texas, and Ohio; the Sunshine state had only 85 cases two years ago but last year, 670. It's only a matter of time, officials believe, before this $5 insanity spreads across the country.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube screengrab]