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

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The Conversation

Stories of horrific felonies resulting from drug use have been 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 slaughters 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 behavior of some drug users.

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

On Nov. 23, however, media coverage of Harouffs toxicology tests 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 name for alpha-PVP a very potent synthetic cathinone medication. Synthetic cathinones are a new variety of amphetamine-like street medications, 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 utilize ). Within 16 months( 2014 -2 015) in Fort Lauderdale and its suburbs 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 behavior in Florida and lately in Australia.

Bath salts such as Flakka rapidly became highly stigmatized medications in response to media coverage of users supposedly turning into zombies or cannibals. As a person who had examines 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 human. The attacker was killed by police, and homeless people human 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 had begun and would continue.

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

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

Last time I collected mane samples from dozens of nightclub and dance celebration 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 utilize( after being provided a list 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 applying Flakka and/ or other bath salts unknowingly or unintentionally, guessing its Molly.( And no, these people didnt turn into cannibals or zombies .)

Lets try to get the facts straight

While information based on deceptions can help deter people from( intentionally) applying potentially dangerous drugs such as Flakka, legitimate and truthful information is necessity not only to deter utilize, but likewise to prevent those who reject abstention from experiencing harm.

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

First, potential customers specially experienced drug users may ignore our admonishes. Second, exaggerating dangerous effects typically leads to increased stigma toward those who utilize or happen to be dependent on the medication. This usually results simply to further ostracization and a lower likelihood of striving 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 preoccupied with zombie TV depicts. 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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