SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Drug task forces all over the state of Alabama are on high alert now that a new and dangerous designer drug is on the market. It is called flakka, and the drug causes violent reactions similar to the ones we saw when bath salts firs hit the market.
Our neighbors in Florida are in the epicenter of the outbreak. Shelby County Drug Task Force Commander Kevin Turner said a trip back from the beach is all it would take to introduce the drug to Alabama.
“It’s not immune to this area. Obviously what happens in one state, or one region of the county, is going to affect what we do. It’s just a matter of time before we do see it here,” said Turner.
Graphic videos posted online show what can happen when flakka is used. It causes psychotic breakdowns, hallucinations and indiscriminate violence. For instance, one man impaled himself on a fence in Fort Lauderdale. Another man said he does not remember what he did for two days after taking the drug.
“I could have killed somebody. I could have killed myself,” said Mike Haney.
Sandor Cheka is the Executive Director of the Addiction Prevention Coalition. He said some people chose the drug because it does not show up on drug screening for work or probation. Cheka said it is extremely dangerous and can cause permanent organ damage.
“I think the biggest thing with this drug, much like bath salts, is the elevation in body temperature. It can get you up to 106 degrees. This fries your brain from the inside out. We see a lot of cases of people literally streaking down the road because they become so hot they just take off all of these clothes,” said Cheka. “There was a case a few years ago that was something similar, called bath salts, where people were literally chewing people’s faces off,” said Cheka.
Cheka cautions parents that users mostly buy the drug online.
“It is kids thinking that they are doing something legal. They want to try something and push the edge and be a little bit rebellious,” Cheka said.
Tuner said parents should talk to their children and stay informed about the latest drug trends.
“As far as long term exposure to (flakka), we have no idea. It’s something new and it’s something changing. It’s synthetic and manmade. One batch might not be the same as another batch,” said Turner.
Tuner asks that the community be on high alert and let law enforcement know if they suspect that anyone is using the drug or selling the drug.
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