Broward News

Pam Bondi Sends Out Flakka Warning to Parents as Summer Kicks Off

Pam Bondi has jumped into the flakka hysteria fray and issued an official warning to Florida parents as summer kicks off. 

"Flakka causes delusions, hallucinations and can increase body temperature to a dangerous level," Bondi said in a news release on Thursday.

As New Times reported back in April, flakka is fairly easy to ship to the U.S. from the labs where it's cooked up in China. 

The drug is a synthetic cathinone, much like bath salts, which means it's made from one or more synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant.

Flakka has been most prevalent in 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, hosting a meeting last month between the Urban League of Broward County and Broward Sheriff's Office.

Citing how flakka is cheap to buy, and its potential danger, BSO Sheriff Scott Israel called it the "$5 insanity drug," a phrase coined by Jim Hall, an epidemiologist at the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at Nova Southeastern University.

Flakka has made headlines over the way users have been overtaken by its psychosis-inducing potency. Most recently, a Melbourne teen who had jumped through the window of a family's home charged a police officer covered in glass and blood screaming out, "I am God! I am Satan!"

While some have questioned if the hysteria over flakka is over the top, experts like Hall say the drug is something to be taken seriously.

"In Broward County, local hospitals are seeing an estimated total of 20 flakka overdose cases a day," Hall says.

"In 2014, we had one case of flakka in January, none in February, then we had 19 in March," adds BSO spokesperson Keyla Concepcion. "There was a steady increase which peaked at 84 in September and then again began to decline toward the end of the year."

Bondi, who has been a bit of a crusader over synthetic drugs, says that parents need to be diligent in making sure kids know about flakka.

"Parents should talk to their children about this deadly synthetic drug and be aware of what their children are searching for and buying online," she said.
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph