The drug that has taken the streets of Florida by storm – Flakka – is now being reported to be spreading to other areas of the United States. Flakka has been referred to by doctors in the ER as “five-dollar insanity,” and by treatment facility directors as the “devil’s drug.” Flakka is a synthetic drug that is imported from China. This drug has been wreaking havoc in South Florida for years, and is now threatening other areas of the country. Cheap and highly addictive, this awful substance is one of the latest synthetic drugs that people need to become educated about.

Do you know everything you need to know about this dangerous drug?

Flakka Facts

1. Flakka comes from alpha-PVP, which is a synthetic (man-made) version of the stimulant known as cathinone. Cathinone comes from the khat plant, a plant native to the Middle East and Somalia. These same ingredients are found in “bath salts”, but flakka is cheaper – so cheap, in fact, that it is called “$5 insanity.”

2. Flakka can be injected, snorted, smoked, or swallowed.

3. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there were a whopping 670 cases of Flakka use reported in 2014. That’s up from ZERO cases in 2010, followed by 85 cases in 2012. Most cases come from the same area – South Florida.

4. Flakka is legally produced in China and there are upwards of 150 Chinese companies that sell this drug on the Internet. To trick agents in customs, the packaging of flakka comes in the form of common household products – cleaners, shampoos, and soaps, for example.

5. Flakka is cheaper than another newly popular drug, Molly. All you need is about $3-$5 per hit of flakka.

6. You never really know what you’re getting when it comes to flakka. Some packets of the drug have meth, heroin, or cocaine inside as well.

7. The street drug is also sometimes packaged and sold to look like candy, or is mixed into common candy we see every day. For example, the drug was found mixed in a bag of gummy bears – it was actually crushed up and rolled into the candy. This makes it especially terrifying for kids getting their hands on this stuff.

8. It can cause permanent brain and kidney damage.

9. Scientists postulate that flakka actually destroy neurons in your brain.

10. The drug can also cause hyperthermia (overheating), which is especially hard on your kidneys. Overdose survivors have had to remain on dialysis for the rest of their lives.

11. The high you get from flakka is similar to that of cocaine, but it lasts much longer.

12. People may experience paranoia, think they have “super human strength”, and violent behavior from taking flakka.

13. As mentioned above, hyperthermia can happen. Cases of body temperatures reaching 105 or higher have been reported.

14. Because flakka is so cheap, it’s often marketed to homeless people as a cheap and easy alternative to cocaine.

15. The exact dose of flakka is hard to control, so there’s a huge margin of error for the difference between getting a high and dying.

16. Even a mild overdose of flakka can result in serious heart problems, psychosis, and severe aggression.

17. Flakka dealers can evade the DEA by labeling flakka with a “Not For Human Consumption” label and selling it as common household products.

18. The fight-or-flight response triggered by the drug results in “extreme strength” and may take five or six police officers to restrain an individual on flakka.

19. To counteract the effects of flakka, officers try to inject a sedative like Ativan (a benzodiazepine) before it’s too late. If they can’t inject it, the individual has a high chance of dying.

20. Researchers believe the drug to be even stronger than meth and cocaine.

21. People aren’t really sure as to where the name “flakka” came from.

22. The name could be from the Spanish word “flaca,” which means “skinny girl.” This could relate to the appetite suppressing quality of the drug.

23. Or the name could have something to do with the colloquial Hispanic word that means “a beautiful, elegant woman who charms all she meets.”

24. There are also rumors of the drug’s name having something to do with the hip-hop artist Waka Flocka Flame.

25. To compare the price of flakka to meth: Flakka costs around $150 for an eighth of an ounce, while that amount of crystal meth is around $450.

26. Flakka use is predominantly seen in low-income neighborhoods, of all genders and racial backgrounds.

27. People may also be vaporizing flakka through electronic cigarettes, especially teenagers. This is a preferred method because no odor is given off while vaping.

28. Vaping flakka allows the drug to enter the bloodstream directly, making overdose even more likely – and therefore, making death more likely.

29. Flakka first appeared, shipped from China, in Florida. It has made an appearance in Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York.