What Is Flakka? The New Designer Drug Is Apparently Even More Dangerous Than Bath Salts

Remember that guy in Florida who got high off of the street drug bath salts and ate another guy's face off? It turns out we should all start fearing for our faces because of the proliferation of something called Flakka, a new drug that's EVEN CRAZIER than bath salts. That's right, it's crazier than the drug that makes people eat other people's faces. I think in terms of drugs you should never ever try the definitive ranking goes like this: Flakka, bath salts, then meth. It's just not worth it.

So what is Flakka? I know what you're thinking, and so far my research has not found any connection to Waka Flocka Flame. Nor have I found anything linking the drug to A$AP Rocky, aka Pretty Flack — the fact that the name might remind you of a few rappers is just a coincidence (although it's possible that "Flacko" and "Flakka" are both derivatives of the Spanish word, "flaco," meaning skinny). Anywho, Flakka is made from a compound called alpha-PVP, a synthetic version of the stimulant cathinone, which naturally occurs in the khat plant. If you're interested, the khat plant grows in Somalia and parts of the Middle East. Apparently, it's the plant the Somali pirates eat in the movie Captain Phillips, if that helps put things into perspective for you.

Flakka comes in little crystal pebbles — it's often called "gravel" by dealers for this reason — and in terms of consumption, it's pretty versatile. You can smoke, snort, inject, swallow it, or use it in an e-cigarette or vape.

Here's why the drug is dangerous, other than the fact that it can be cut with pretty much any other drug and you have no way of knowing if your stuff is "pure": it causes what psychologists call "excited delirium," which is way, way less fun than it might sound. Basically, Flakka releases a ton of dopamine into the brain and at the same time it blocks reuptake, which is when neurotransmitters go back into the neuron and you eventually go back to normal. So all this dopamine gets released into the brain and then it just chills there for a couple of hours, and it causes people to lose their freaking minds.

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Excited delirium can cause the body temperature to go as high as 105 degrees (!!), and prolonged use can lead to kidney failure, although with these side effects I'm seriously wondering who on Earth would use this drug more than once. Psychologically, Flakka can make you feel anxious, paranoid, and/or delusional, which explains why one user impaled himself on a police station fence, another one tried to break down the door of a police precinct, and a third was found naked on his roof with a gun, yelling about how he felt delusional and like he was hallucinating. See what I mean about it not being worth it?

So far, the drug has only been found in Ohio, Texas, and — where else? —Florida, but authorities believe it might spread, due in part to the fact that Flakka is not technically illegal yet. According to statistics released by the DEA, there were 670 cases involving the drug in 2014, so who knows if it will actually take off or if we're all preemptively freaking out. Either way, Flakka is one drug I will definitely not be trying — I'll be sticking to Waka Flocka, thank you very much.

Images: Giphy