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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    In late 2014, the synthetic drug known as flakka exploded on the scene and prompted such bizarre, violent behavior that it quickly became shorthand for lunacy. The street drug, which is similar to cocaine but much cheaper and more potent, has been called "$5 insanity."

    The hype was not overblown. Last spring, three or four people were hospitalized every day in South Florida, an area particularly hard-hit by the epidemic. State authorities warned about the health dangers of using flakka, which comes in white crystals that can be snorted, ingested or injected. Being around users could also be dangerous: Reports circulated of a man breaking down hurricane-proof doors and a woman running naked through the streets, both allegedly while high on the drug.

    But then, just as quickly as it came on the scene, flakka seems to have nearly vanished. Sixty-three users died in South Florida between September 2014 and December 2015, but there have been no flakka-related deaths in 2016. Treatment centers in Broward County, Florida, admitted only six flakka users in January, compared with about 50 a month in the fall.

    "Anecdotal reports from both street users and law enforcement officers say that flakka is not even available in the street drug market," said Jim Hall, a drug abuse epidemiologist at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I have never seen an epidemic emerge so rapidly but literally disappear so quickly," he said. The popularity of flakka has also plummeted in areas such as Chicago, Houston and rural parts of Kentucky and Illinois, he added.

    The main force that stemmed the flakka surge, Hall said, was a Chinese ban on the production and exportation of alpha-PVP, the chemical name for flakka, along with 115 other street drugs. The United States and Europe put pressure on China to ban these substances, and the Chinese government acted swiftly. The ban went into effect October 1.

    "They did not want to become known as a narco (or narcotic) nation," said Hall, who met with government officials about the problem. It probably helped that nearly all of the labs that made flakka were in one Chinese province, just north of Hong Kong, Hall said. "It was primarily a single supply source. This was not an international drug cartel with major operations and different systems. We could shut it off right at the source."

    But don't celebrate the end of flakka just yet. In 2014, China banned methylone, a synthetic stimulant in the same family as flakka that was added to ecstasy or "Molly." Methylone disappeared, only to be replaced by an analog substance called ethylone. And after ethylone was included in the 2015 ban, it has been replaced by dibutylone, Hall said. Flakka itself is related to a group of drugs known as "bath salts," which were banned in 2012.

    "History has shown that one of the unintended consequences to banning certain drugs is that it typically leads to an explosion of new replacement drugs. Whether that will happen (with flakka) in response to the 116-drug ban is impossible to tell at this point," said Michael H. Baumann, director of the Designer Drug Research Unit at the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Intramural Research Program.

    Another question, Baumann said: "Will some other country pick up the slack if China is not making it?"
    Hall suspects that there has been no sign of a flakka replacement because it had a bad reputation, even among those who used it. "Active users despised the drug but were addicted to it and compelled to use it," he said.

    Maybe as a result there is not really demand for a stand-in for flakka, which gets its name from the Spanish word "flaca," for a thin, attractive woman.

    Public awareness around flakka also played a key role in the slowdown. "I've never seen a community come together so unified and focused on a specific drug problem as Broward County did with flakka," Hall said.
    The local United Way created a team of community leaders, including paramedics and mental health counselors, that held almost nightly town hall meetings to educate the public about the dangers of flakka and places users could go for help, Hall said.

    Baumann agrees that such public health campaigns can be very effective. "I think this might have even played just as big a part as having the drugs banned," he said.




    By Carina Storrs - CNN/April 18, 2016
    http://us.cnn.com/2016/04/18/health/flakka-drug-disappearance/index.html
    Photo: Sun Sentinel stock, 2015
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. Beautiful Loser
    Flakka is still widely available in Europe where it is known as A-PVP.

    For some reason it has not been subject to the same level of media exposure as it has in the USA, where it has been the subject of widespread sensationalised reporting, though not without good reason.

    There is no denying it's potential for enormous harm though, I've heard even crystal meth users say it is the most addictive drug they have ever tried, possibly one of the most addictive drugs on the planet.

    Due to this extremely addictive quality and the powerful euphoria that users experience, it is very difficult for users to stop themselves binging on it, constantly redosing at the expense of sleep or food.

    The come down is so horrifyingly unpleasant, with extreme anxiety, that this also pushes the user to keep redosing, creating a viscous cycle that can end in serious psychosis, extreme tachycardia and hospitalisation.

    Since effectively banning A-PVP in the USA, a number of variants have already been created to circumvent the law, such as A-PHP.
  2. Potter
    I think the difference is that in EU is that people consume A-pvp ordered online with a label and here they buy "flokka" off some guy on a street corner with no idea as to what it actually is.

    The people who got media attention here didn't know what they had, didn't understand it had a different profile of effects and safety margin, didn't know how much they took and neither did their friends. They just started jamming drugs up their nose without any thought, freak out in a way no one can handle, and get into public where they make a mess of themselves.
  3. Infinitlit
    Well SWIM uses A-PVP as much as he can get his greedy hands on and he doesn't mind one bit. When vaped off a charcoal each hit provides an orgasmic rush far surpassing any other rush from any other drug swim has tried. Yup, it's addictive alright. But its also the best drug by far swim has ever had the pleasure of trying. And despite its being banned in China and demonized in the US, its still available if you look for it. And while it's expensive, it's also quite potent, so a little goes a long way.
  4. chupamivergaguey
    I had an experience with flakka (aPVP) around September of 2014 and experienced all the side effects of crack cocaine but none of the euphoria. 3-FPM was another cracklike stim running around at that time whose sole defining characteristic was moreishness. Although I tend to run my mouth about how "all drugs need to be legal," the provalerones are a class I really don't give a shit about, so when thy come for the pyrovalerones, I will remain silent. Their main effects seem to be the clearly unpleasant side effects of other stimulants, minus the euphoria, and who wants to put up with that?
  5. evinator
    As of December 2016 I heard there was a new version of flakka on the streets of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm. I have a friend who said they had a dream that they got sick after a 3 day binge and decided not to mess with it anymore.
  6. jpe11b
    So how do you find out if it's on the banned substance list or not
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