Flakka, also referred to as ‘gravel’, has gained widespread infamy across the United States in recent years. South Florida has seen the largest concentration of the substance, but Flakka is rapidly gaining popularity among many street drug addicts. Flakka is a relatively new synthetic substance and little remains known about its origins. Flakka remains unregulated throughout many parts of the U.S.
However, research into Flakka has proven that it is highly addictive and can, in many cases, be fatal to users. Compared to ‘bath salts’, and often marketed as a cheaper alternative to methamphetamine and cocaine, Flakka has become the drug of choice for those users seeking a euphoric or energy stimulant. Flakka can be consumed in a variety of ways, including ingestion, snorting, injection or through e-cigarettes (‘vaping’).
Flakka’s active ingredient, alpha-PVP, is a synthetic chemical compound which remains unstable and very dangerous. Alpha-PVP acts as a dopamine uptake inhibitor. Excess dopamine in the system can induce a sense of pleasure and euphoria in the individual.
Flakka addiction has been reported with a variety of side-affects and adverse behaviors. Flakka users have reported increased aggression, paranoia, and hallucinations, resulting in many users to disengage from reality and to act out on these hallucinatory visions. Continued use Flakka, and the eventual addiction to the substance, has led many users to experience increased stress-levels, including high blood pressure, and to report continued and increasing emotional instability.
Research on Flakka remains limited at present, but the long-term affects of the drug have begun to appear. Prolonged abuse and addiction to Flakka have led to psychosis and violent episodes, muscle tissue damage, heart arrhythmias, and even death.
Although Flakka addiction can be particularly devastating, rehabilitation centers continue to offer programs that can address the problem, no matter how severe the case.