What is Flakka and why is it suddenly in the news?
Flakka, also known as gravel, is a fowl-smelling white or pink crystal and a chemical-cousin of "bath salts." It is a synthetic version of naturally occurring amphetamine-like drugs called cathinones and is extremely dangerous. Recent incidents in Florida reported in US News and Time magazine have brought Flakka into the spotlight because some overdosing users have experienced rapid elevating body temperature causing them to rip off their clothes, become violent and experience hallucinations – a state called "excited delirium." Flakka can be injected, snorted, smoked or swallowed. It is extremely cheap at only $4-$5 per 1/10 gram dosage. In Broward County, Florida, as many as 20 excited delirium cases per day are seen in local emergency rooms due to Flakka and similar drugs. At least 10 deaths have been linked to Flakka abuse in the past 6 months. The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists Flakka as a dangerous "emerging trend" in drug abuse.