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Flakka is a relatively new street drug that appears to be on the rapid uptake. Here’s what it is all about.
What is Flakka?
Flakka comes into the ever-increasing category of designer or synthetic drugs and is typically made from a synthetic version of alpha-PVP. This is an amphetamine-like stimulant in the cathinone class of drugs.
What are cathinone’s?
Cathinone’s are chemicals derived from the khat plant. This plant grows in middle-eastern and African countries. Traditionally the leaves have been chewed to achieve a euphoric high.
Potency equivalent to methamphetamine:
As mentioned, Flakka is a relatively new arrival on the drug scene, but early tests on it have shown it to be at least as potent as methamphetamine.
Additional issues for Flakka users are that heavy use can cause uncontrollable, bizarre behaviour.
Early indications also show that the drug is even more addictive than the highly addictive methamphetamine when regularly abused.
Flakka is similar to other stimulant drugs. When taken it tends to flood the brain with dopamine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for the brain’s pleasure and reward centres. As well as increasing dopamine, Flakka also hinders brain cells in the reuptake of it. The joint effect gives the user intense feelings of euphoria.
Other short-term effects have been likened to those received from amphetamines and cocaine. These include:
When a user is coming off a Flakka binge they will suffer noticeable depression along with strong feelings of lethargy and fatigue.
The answer for many in response to these unwanted feelings is a quick return to the drug. Repeating this cycle will lead to tolerance of the drug.
Similar to many stimulant drugs, a user very quickly builds a tolerance to Flakka. This means that to achieve the same highs as previously experienced they need to take more.
Regularly increasing the amount taken leads to a dependence and addiction on the drug. Once a user reaches this state they cannot do without the substance.
Extremely dangerous in high doses:
Because a user needs to take more to satisfy their need they are putting their lives in danger.
Excessive amounts of the drug can cause body temperature to rise alarmingly. When this happens, it can lead to the breakdown of muscles and kidney damage. Another problem is overdosing which is often a pre-cursor to death.
Because Flakka is a relatively new drug the full long-term effects are as yet unknown, but experts place this drug in a similar category to that of the strongest crystal meth and cocaine currently available.
Initial research undertaken shows clearly that the drug is toxic to the kidneys and has the ability to cause renal failure.
What additional long-term effects this drug will have on a user’s body and brain remain to be seen, but the warning signs are already clear. The potential for serious physical and mental health problems certainly need to be taken into account.