Flakka Is A Dangerous Drug, But It Doesnt Turn You Into A Zombie


The Conversation

Stories of horrific crimes resulting from drug use ought to have propagated by the media for over a century. Such narratives began with cocaine in 1914 and were followed by reefer madnessstories in the 1930 s and reports of LSD assassinations in the 1960 s. Our latest medication said to be associated with murderous narratives is a bath salt called Flakka, which some media have even called a zombie medication.

Its gained this moniker by being associated with bizarre and violent behaviour of some drug users.

In August, 19 -year-old Austin Harrouff assaulted and killed a couple in their Florida home, and he was found biting the face and abdomen of one of his victims. The attackers parents reported “hes having” displayed strange behaviour for months prior to the incident and that he possibly suffered from undiagnosed schizophrenia. Authorities, nonetheless, belief Harouff was likely high on the new street medication called Flakka, as apply has hitherto been attributed to widespread incidents of strange and sometimes violent behavior.

On Nov. 23, nonetheless, media coverage of Harouffs toxicology exams revealed that Flakka was not detected in Harrouffs system. Thus, this cannibal incident did not involve the medication, as was widely believed.

Regardless, Flakka is a new and potentially dangerous synthetic drug. Flakka is a street epithet for alpha-PVP a very potent synthetic cathinone medication. Synthetic cathinones are a new variety of amphetamine-like street narcotics, which are commonly referred to as bath salts.

Flakka is a very potent and inexpensive stimulant. In reality, it appears to be more potent than methamphetamine, and it is believed to have higher addictive potential. Flakka use has been found to be associated with paranoia, delusions and hallucinations( which may be somewhat dependent on frequent and/ or extensive apply ). Within 16 months( 2014 -2 015) in Fort Lauderdale and its suburb alone, 63 guessed Flakka users died as a result of acute intoxication, accidents, suicides and homicides.

Flakka is particularly infamous for being tied to rashes of bizarre behaviour in Florida and recently in Australia.

Bath salts such as Flakka speedily became highly stigmatized narcotics in response to media coverage of users supposedly is transformed into zombies or cannibals. As a person who had surveys drug use epidemiology, I think it is very important to divide true from myth when it comes to drugs.

Cannibals and zombies high on bath salts ?

The zombie/ cannibal label phenomenon began in Miami on May 26, 2012 when Rudy Eugene naked and thought to be high on bath salts chewed the face and eyeball off of a homeless boy. The attacker was killed by police, and homeless people boy was left disfigured and blind.

However, toxicology tests later confirmed that bath salts were not present in the attackers system.

Still, the zombie/ cannibal pop culture phenomenon have commenced and would continue.

Prevalence of self-reported bath salt apply among high school seniors remained relatively stable at about 1 percent over the last few years; nonetheless, between 2012 and 2016, perceived harmfulness of trying bath salts nearly doubled from 33 percent to 58 percent. This is likely a result of the zombie/ cannibal label, as perception of impairment often leads to less use.

The belief that Flakka or other bath salt apply can turn you into a zombie or cannibal appears to have been a somewhat effective discouraging against apply. Nonetheless, what a lot of young people dont know is that they have been using Flakka or other bath salts, or both, without knowing it, as these narcotics are common adulterants, in Molly the newest street epithet for ecstasy/ MDMA.

Last year I compiled mane samples from dozens of nightclub and dance festival attendees in New York City to be tested for new psychoactive substances. Many attendees joked that they would never use bath salts as they are not zombies or cannibals.

But what my colleagues and I actually found was that among self-reported ecstasy customers who denied bath salt apply( after being provided a listing of dozens of compounds in this class ), four out of 10 actually tested positive for one of more of these compounds.

So a lot of drug users are actually use Flakka and/ or other bath salts unknowingly or unintentionally, reckoning its Molly.( And no, these people didnt be transformed into cannibals or zombies .)

Lets to continue efforts to get the facts straight

While information based on falsehoods can help deter people from( intentionally) use potentially dangerous drugs such as Flakka, legitimate and truthful datum is needed not only to deter apply, but likewise to avoid the individuals who reject abstention from experiencing harm.

Sometimes scary datum works to deter drug use. But scary should be based on truthful information about potentially harmful narcotics. If we continue to exaggerate adverse effects, then this can work against our prevention efforts in two ways.

First, potential customers especially experienced drug users may disregard our warnings. Second, exaggerating dangerous influences usually leads to increased stigma toward the individuals who apply or happen to be dependent on the medication. This usually contributes only to further ostracization and a lower likelihood of trying treatment.

Drug-induced cannibalism now appears to be a hot media topic. This is understandable just as much of members of the public is nows obsessed with zombie TV proves. But we need to ensure that we remain cautious about news we hear, and responsible for news we share.

The ConversationJoseph Palamar, Assistant Professor of Population Health, New York University Langone Medical Center

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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