New, scary street drug called flakka or ‘$5 insanity’ on rise in U.S.

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SEATTLE -- A dangerous new drug is on the streets -- it is called flakka or gravel or "$5 insanity."  And there's a reason it has that last nickname.

The drug spikes a user's body temperature to dangerous levels, gives them paranoid hallucinations and makes them incredibly strong.

In one case, a man in Florida ran naked down the street and then tried to have sex with a tree before being arrested. He told cops he was Thor -- yes, the mythical god of thunder.

Another guy who thought he was being chased by dozens of cars used every ounce of strength to try to break into a police station.

And another was so terrified he climbed a security fence and impaled himself on the barbs.

They were all on a new drug called flakka.

"Flakka is a combination stimulant and hallucinogen so it's a cross between methamphetamine and PCP," said Doug James, the acting special agent in charge of the DEA office in Seattle.

And the drug is cheap, which is why it's called "$5 insanity."

"You are playing Russian Roulette when you take this drug," James said. "Absolutely destroys the human body."

He said flakka is a cousin to bath salts. It's cooked up in secret labs in China, Pakistan and India.

"Individuals who have utilized this drug have come back three days later and said, 'I had no idea what I was doing.'"

Flakka can be eaten, snorted, injected or vaporized in an e-cigarette.

"Literally, we have people walking down the streets, walking by police officers, using drugs and you don't even know it," said Pat Slack, commander of the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.

He said four cases of flakka have been sent to the Washington State Patrol Lab for testing.

He's worried about the technology that kids are using now to vaporize cheap heroin or meth, and he urged parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drug use.

"Have the conversation -- or you might not ever get the chance," Slack said, adding that flakka could kill users.

"You do not want to be taking this stuff. You're literally rolling the dice with your life when you take this stuff," he said.

Where are people buying this drug?

It's shipped into the United States through the mail and then either sold online or by street dealers.









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  • dg54321

    LOL more fear mongering to validate the pointless “War on Drugs”.

    I’m sure it’s nasty stuff, but nasty stuff is nothing new. None of it validates the constant assault on our Constitutional rights the government performs on the daily in order to “keep us safe” (read: create a for-profit prison system based on victimless crimes).

    • Resident

      So the cartel’s “have aright” to inflict poison on mostly minority people in this country and people somehow have some sort of “right” to put garbage in their bodies regardless of the public health cost? I would disagree.

      • dg54321

        People have the right to put what they want into their own bodies. Nobody has the right to inflict harm on others. If you can’t understand the distinction, then there’s not much of a base for discussion here, because that’s a necessary concept to understand before any discussion can take place.

        • Aaron

          The law says you can’t put whatever you want in your body because certain substances, when put in your body, alter your state of mind and perceptions. So yes, people should not be permitted to use these drugs because of the danger the user becomes to others. You cannot control the effects of a drug. Certain ones will make you do things you never would have done before taking it. Like hurting other people. That’s why certain drugs are illegal. And thank goodness they are.

          • dg54321

            If you can’t handle certain drugs, then you should be adult enough not to take them, and be held accountable for your actions if you do and do inappropriate or dangerous things. All of society shouldn’t have their rights restricted because of the immature or incapable. That’s a logical fallacy of the highest order.

            So no, the government has no business telling people what they can or cannot put in their body. One only needs to look at the legality of alcohol, arguably one of the most toxic and dangerous drugs out there, as to the hypocritical and schizophrenic nature of this attitude towards drug laws.

  • lunchbox

    Common sense aside I quote ron white: lets take the warning labels off everything and let nature take its course.

  • A Friendly Scientist

    I could be all sarcastic and talk about recreating moral panic articles about from the past about the worst drug ever by changing “flakka” to: bath salts in 2011, club drugs in the 1990s, crack in the 1980s, PCP in the 1970s, LSD in the 1960s, cannabis in the 1930s and 1940s, and cocaine around 1910. But hopefully I just made my point. Hype and hysteria once sold papers, now it drives ratings, clicks and ad revenue. But it’s still yellow journalism and it’s not harmless.

    ‘Flakka’ is alpha-PVP, a synthetic stimulant sometimes found in ‘bath salt and closely related to a drug developed in the 1950s. Except when it’s mix of who knows what created to cash in on the notoriety these articles create.

    Here is a article with real information about this old, new drug. Including how these types of moral panic, worst-drug-ever (until the next one) articles undermine efforts to educate about the very real risks these poorly characterized drugs have.

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