Of all the street drugs to plague Florida over the years, the latest craze, known as Flakka, has police worried. The potent synthetic drug, which costs just $5 a vial, is leading youngsters to commit bizarre and increasingly violent crimes.
In one case of bizarre behavior induced by the drug, a man was caught by cops running naked through a Florida neighborhood. The man reportedly tried to have sex with a tree, claiming he was the mythical god Thor.
Flakka — a derivative of the Spanish word for a thin, pretty woman — is peddled in crystal form and can be smoked using an electronic cigarette, meaning it has no odor and can be smoked anywhere.
Don Maines, a drug treatment counselor with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, said Flakka is very cheap to obtain.
“I’ve had one addict describe it as $5 insanity. They still want to try it because it’s so cheap. It gives them heightened awareness. They feel stronger and more sensitive to touch. But then the paranoia sets in.”
Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer noted, “Synthetic drugs are illegal and present a grave danger to our community, particularly our children.”
In another disturbing example of what the drug can do, homeless man James West was caught on surveillance video earlier this year trying to kick in the heavy glass front door of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. He finally cracked it by using large rocks.
When cops asked him why he did it, he claimed “he was being chased by 20-25 individuals and he didn’t know why.”
One of the problems with Flakka is that its makers often afford subtle changes to the product in order to foil efforts to test the drug properly. On top of that, it is often mixed with other substances, such as crack cocaine.
Maines added that prolonged use of the drug is dangerous for users.
“It actually starts to rewire the brain chemistry. They have no control over their thoughts. They can’t control their actions. It seems to be universal that they think someone is chasing them. It’s just a dangerous, dangerous drug.”
[Image credit: nbcmiami.com]