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Florida is Seeing the Emergence of a New and Dangerously Powerful Drug, Flakka.

Chemically related to "Bath Salts", Flakka, or Alpha PVP, is a new synthetic form of speed included in the group of drugs called Synthetic Cathinones. Derived the Khatt plant which originated in East Africa and Southern Arabia the cathinone group also includes "Bath Salts" according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse or, NIDA.

It's the latest in a long line of synthetic concoctions to hit the Sunshine State in recent years. This one can be snorted or smoked. It can also be mixed with other substances like marijuana. Like many of the new synthetic drugs, Flakka is mostly manufactured in China and sold over the internet in bulk to dealers and retailers around the world. Then placed into small into small packages which often carry the warning, "Not for Human Consumption", the drug is given new names like, "Cloud Nine", "Scarface" and "Lunar Wave" and sold for as little as $3 to $5 per dose.

"Flakka" is a synthetic drug obviously," said A Broward ER doctor, Dr. El Sanadi. "We've seen it mixed with crystal meth or synthetic marijuana, but the fundamental chemical is bath salts."

When drugs are banned by officials in the DEA, (the Drug Enforcement Agency), the ban always specifies the exact chemical composition of the drug. Knowing this, chemists who manufacture these "Designer Drugs" regularly slightly change their recipes, thereby changing the molecular structure and skirting the restrictions until a new regulation can be put into effect. In the process, though, users can be exposed to new and unpredicted side effects. While this doesn't cause much if any concern for the manufacturers, it can be potentially deadly for the user.

More than a Year ago, the Miami Herald reported on a man who, high on the drug Flakka, ran naked through the streets of Brevard County, attempted to have sex with a tree, claimed he was Thor and violently resisted arrest by attacking an officer with the officer's own badge for a weapon. In another incident reported in Melbourne, a nude man believed to be on Flakka ran through the streets convinced he was being chased by a pack of German shepherds.

Bizarre incidents like these are showing up all around the country, but the bottom line is that these substances are potentially deadly. A medical examiner in Broward County said 63 Flakka related deaths occurred in the six month period from last September to March.

Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older in Florida, by Substate Region: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2010, 2011, and 2012 NSDUHs (Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

The drugs that caused the most mortality in 2012, in Florida, were oxycodone, ethyl alcohol, alprazolam, cocaine, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, and diazepam.

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