Florida's Broward County Leads the Nation in Number of Flakka Cases
According to the DEA, Broward County, Florida is the epicenter for a new and unpredictable synthetic stimulant called flakka. Also known as alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha- PVP), the drug may have become popular as a response to the dwindling supply of prescription medicines created by recent crackdowns on area pill mills. Thus, flakka has filled a void by providing a cheap and easy substitute for more costly drugs that were previously peddled by prescription pill traders.
Flakka, which is chemically similar to other cathinone drugs popularly referred to as “bath salts,” delivers an intense high that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Eating, snorting, injecting, or vaporizing the crystals can result in body temperature spikes, excited delirium, paranoid psychosis, hallucinations, and combativeness. These side effects often further result in violent aggression and self-injury, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In fact, flakka use has been linked to several deaths by suicide, as well as by heart attack, total shutdown of essential body functions, internal bleeding, and multi-organ failure caused by elevated body temperatures.
The DEA has reported that 55 percent of the 870 flakka cases in Florida last year can be credited to Broward County alone.
So far, there have been 477 cases of flakka confiscation, which translates to a rate of 27 cases per 100,000 residents in Broward County. No other major urban county has even come close to this number; Chicago’s Cook County came in second with 212 cases, not even half of Broward’s total.
South Florida has unfortunately held a reputation for the emergence of many disturbing drug trends, including oxycodone and cocaine. As the newest designer drug on the market, flakka’s popularity can be attributed to inexpensively it can be sold and how easy it is to obtain. Although flakka is illegal to buy and will soon be permanently banned, drug dealers can still easily purchase the drug overseas from Chinese labs and pharmaceutical companies.
At $3 to $5 a hit, anyone can afford this cheap high. It has become especially rampant within the homeless community.
Experts are still puzzled as to why this trend has hit Broward County so hard in particular. Further studies will shed more light on what Ralph Page, the director of Broward County Crime Stoppers, calls a “very strange phenomena.”
Hager & Schwartz, P.A. represents individuals throughout the state of Florida who have been charged with drug crimes. Contact a Broward County drug crimes lawyer from our criminal defense firm for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.