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FLAKKA, A NEW KILLER DRUG SPREADING TO AFRICA

Flakka, a new synthetic drug that is causing an epidemic of overdose fatalities and acts of violence in the United States is said to have found its way to West Africa. It is saiid to be more powerful than heroin and cocaine and some members of the youth have already started using it in Africa.

 

Popularly called Flakka, the pharmaceutical name for the designer drug is a-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone – otherwise known as a-PVP or alpha-PVP – a chemical compound originally synthesized in the 1960s.

 

The Drug Policy Alliance calls it the "second-generation bath salts." Flakka comes as a foul-smelling white or pink crystal that. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says you can snort, eat, inject or even vape. Like bath salts, the substance is packaged in plastic bags or vials and labeled "not for human consumption" or "plant food." You can buy it online or off the street.

 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration placed a temporary ban on a-PVP and nine of synthetic cathinones in March 2014. The designer drug is still classified by the DEA as a Schedule I Controlled Substance.

 

At least 20 other countries have banned or regulated a-PVP in some way. The Chinese government banned flakka and 115 other synthetic drugs as of October 1st – just weeks before the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Bo Peng, one of China's biggest flakka traffickers.

 

Like bath salts, flakka simulates the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine without the price tag. That's why the designer drug has become so popular among college-age adults – since it's 10 times more powerful than coke. But the exhilaration caused by flakka is actually significantly more potent than one would feel from a naturally derived drug like cocaine, said Dr. IndraCidambi, addiction medicine expert and founder/medical director of Center for Network Therapy.

 

"The high is pretty high and getting off takes longer," Cidambi said. In most cases it even lasts for several days.
Why is flakka dangerous?

 

Flakka is known to spike your body temperature up to 104 degrees, if not higher. An extremely high body temperature can have dire consequences – it can lead to kidney damage or kidney failure, and even death. The synthetic drug can also elevate your blood pressure, which can cause a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, or heart failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

 

Flakka's side effects

 

People who use flakka will at first feel euphoric, highly sociable, stimulated, more focused and have an increased sex drive, said Cidambi. But the anticipated high will wear off quickly, leaving users to up their Flakka intake. And the more someone abuses the designer drug, she added, the more they will begin to feel the negative side effects.

 

Flakka users will experience what the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls "excited delirium": a debated condition involving hallucinations, paranoia, increased strength and hyperstimulation. Your heart will race. You will have panic attacks. Your sex drive will plummet. You may become depressed and suicidal and could also become extremely psychotic and violent.

 

Vaping with flakka will make you feel these effects far quicker than any other method because the drug goes straight in your blood stream. That could easily lead to an overdose, the federal health institute states.

 

Flakka’s low cost makes it cheap

 

Since Flakka is cheap, it's a popular drug among college students, as well as low-income people and the homeless population. The designer drug is typically sold online or in the streets for $3 to $5 a hit, whereas a gram of cocaine in the states can cost anywhere from $62 to $80 on average.

 

Flakka also doesn't carry the stigma cocaine does – at least that's what some college-aged patients told a doctor. Some young addicts believe flakka is just "not as bad as cocaine," she said.

 

Last year, police in Florida, where flakka has a stronghold, busted a 22-year-old woman for importing the drug from China, the Broward Palm Beach New Times reported. The year before, a 22-year-old student at Hunter College in New York City was arrested for trafficking more than a pound of alpha-PVP from Shanghai into the U.S., according to the New York Post.

 

When Flakka takes over,it makes the victims crazy.

 

A report in the Washington Post for example said that Flakka, had been floating around for years as an occasional ingredient in certain forms of "bath salts," but a rise in distribution and use was detected in 2013. In fact, federal authorities didn't even officially deem the drug illegal until early 2014.

 

The drug often leaves users in a state of psychosis. Public rampages,frequently in the nude, were a common side-effect. People on the drug have done everything from crashing a car into a county jail and then spitting on cops and claiming to be both God and Satan, to climbing up a drawbridge in the buff.

 

In 2014, 870 criminal cases in the county were related to flakka. The epidemic, however, creeped into Miami-Dade, and the 145 cases here in 2014 were the second greatest in the nation.

 

SUGGESTION

 

In view of the deadly effect of the drug, I wish to suggest that the appropriate bodies and agencies should be alerted about this and immediate decisive measures taken to safeguard human lives, especially the youth.

 

This synthetic killer drug has been spreading rapidly in the United States since last year and it is said to have found its way to Africa, where some people are hooking up to it.

 

Described variously as insanity drug, Flakka, the killer drug alters the state of mind of users and makes them lose their mind, behave like super hero strength, in most cases requiring about six policemen to hold a victim down. Its victims have psychotic breakdowns, hallucinations, violent behaviours.

 

 

R. Harry Reynolds,
Head of Information,
Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations,
19 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

 

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