Flakka has been making headlines across the U.S. lately, and a recent arrest in Palm Beach has shed light on how the drug gets into the country and out in the streets. Flakka has been most prevalent on Florida, specifically Broward County, where there has been a 45 percent increase in flakka cases over the past year. But the county has been proactive in trying to stay ahead of the substance some call the "$5 insanity drug." On Monday, the county announced a joint effort of top leaders and health officials to better educate the public on flakka.
On Wednesday, reps from the Urban League, State Department of Health, Broward Schools, United Way, Broward Addiction and Recovery Center, Broward Health, and others will announce a joint effort in spreading the word on the dangers of flakka over the summer, particularly to kids, parents, teachers, and even medical professionals.
Flakka's popularity has spread particularly into the urban areas, thanks to it being extremely inexpensive and extremely addictive.
According to Jim Hall, epidemiologist at the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at NOVA, a kilogram is worth $1,500 and can produce as many as 10,000 individual doses. Dealers have been known to sell 1/10th of a gram for just $4 or $5 on the street. And because it's cheap, the target customers are low-income neighborhoods.
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"Low price is a key factor, and it's very potent," Hall told New Times in April. "People do enjoy the stimulant, euphoric effect at a relevant low dose."
Flakka is largely manufactured in China and shipped to the United States. Last month, authorities went undercover as DHL workers to ship a fake box of a-PVP, the main ingredient of flakka, to a suspected dealer in Palm Beach. Through that sting, cops were able to nab a dealer and his conspirator. The criminal complaint revealed how easy it is to get flakka shipped to the States and then how it gets distributed.
Flakka's ability to give users delusions, psychosis, and exceedingly aggressive has led to several strange incidents, such as when a Lake Worth man stripped naked, climbed on top of his apartment building with a handgun, and began to threaten to shoot himself and others. A Brevard County man was found having sex with a tree was reportedly high on flakka. Police officers tasered him, but the man managed to pull the prongs off his body with his hands before punching one of the officers. In April, another man, high on flakka, was arrested for running naked in the streets.
Wednesday's news conference will feature top leaders and experts such as Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan, Broward County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Craig Mallak, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, and Dr John Cunha, Emergency Medicine, Holy Cross Hospital.