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Flakka is commonly referred to as bath salts and technically as α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone hydrochloride 0.786-hydrate (α-PVP). In other terms, it is a new designer drug made from a synthetic amphetamine-like substance marketed as harmless bath salts.
It first appeared in literature in 1963 and patented in 1967 as a nervous system stimulant. Flakka became available in the United States in 2013 in a tablet form. Within a year, its popularity and distribution quickly spread under the “flakka” name. In 2014, the federal government classified it as a Schedule I controlled substance making it illegal.
In 2015, police in Florida reported an outbreak of extremely bizarre behaviors by people after using flakka. In one case in Miami, one man chewed another man’s face after using flakka.
It began with the khat plant that grows in East Africa and Southern Arabia. Khat leaves are chewed for a mild stimulant. From there it became a new synthetic drug made from α-PVP, which is a cousin of amphetamine, which is much stronger than the khat plant.
What does Flakka look like?
When α-PVP is cooked with other chemicals, such as acetone and amorphous, and allowed to dry it will cause the mixture to crystallize. The α-PVP crystals are packaged and look like other bath salts on the market.
Flakka causes a feeling of euphoria for the user. It can also cause extreme anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychotic delusions leading to bizarre and out of control behaviors.
Flakka cases the heart rate to increase and the body temperature to increase. These things can lead to seizures, stroke, heart attack, and death. It can also cause liver and kidney failure with prolonged use.
Flakka, being related to amphetamines, causes alertness, hyperactivity, anxiety, profuse sweating, and extreme agitation. In some cases, the individual can have bizarre behaviors, hallucinations, delusions, confusion, or health distress.
Rhonda A., PsyD Psychology
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