The Florida Drug Scene Is Being Overtaken By Synthetic Drug ‘Flakka’, Dethroning Cocaine
For many years the streets of Florida have been flooded with cocaine being brought in by the boatload from South American drug traffickers. South Florida has continuously battled against drug traffickers to keep cocaine out of the state, however they are now up against a new epidemic. The use of the cheap, synthetic drug “flakka” is becoming an epidemic in the South Florida region.
The drug’s popularity has continuously grown since it’s first reported appearance in the state, thus far Broward County authorities have recorded 190 flakka-related incidents. By the beginning of May 2015, the number of incidents had reached as high as 275.
“Cocaine was king, until this year,” says Detective William Schwartz of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Flakka is a synthetic drug which has been chemically designed to mimic cathinone, a natural stimulant found in the leaves of the khat plant. s of 2014 flakka has been placed on the U.S. list of illegal controlled substances. Similar to ecstasy and the MDMA drug “Molly”, it is sold in the form of small clear crystals and commonly taken orally or smoked. Users of flaka have reported that the effects of the drug induce a sense of superhuman strength and delirium.
According to drug treatment professionals, first-time users can take up to four days to return to a normal state of mind, repeat users could take 14 to 16 days.
Unlike cocaine, the price of flakka is fairly cheap and the drug is easily accessible. A variety of Chinese companies advertise the drug for sale online. These companies can also ship the drug in large quantities to U.S. addresses via global delivery companies. Once the shipment hits the U.S. the street value of a single dose of flakka is as low as $5.
While flakka has shown up in other parts of the country such as Ohio, Houston, and Chicago, it has made a substantial impact on the South Florida region. Ironically, South Florida historically has held one of the country’s highest rates for drug use.
Florida is also the leading U.S. entry point for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, due to its long coastline and multitude of airports. Most drugs which are smuggled into Florida are funneled from South America through the Caribbean.
“That’s the first time in my memory that a drug has ever surpassed cocaine,” he added. “We are crossing the threshold into a new world.” added Officer Schwartz.
Currently, the drug is legal and China, however, according to the U.S. State Department the Obama administration has reportedly raised the issue of flakka in talks with China.
A medical associate from West Palm Beach Drug Rehab comments “It is absolutely horrifying that flakka is beginning an epidemic in South Florida. The fight against cocaine is tough as is, having to fight yet another drug will be very challenging. However, it seems as if police authorities are doing their best to fight back. I am hopeful that the U.S. can come to an agreement with china to prohibit the shipment of flakka into the states.”
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