Police Reports Indicate Increasing Use of a Bizarre New Synthetic Drug in Florida
Recent reports have indicated that a new drug has hit Florida’s streets. Referred to as flakka, the drug has been involved in a string of bizarre and unusual crimes throughout Florida. For example, one man ran through a Florida neighborhood naked while engaging in lewd sexual behavior, while another was arrested while running naked down a busy city street in broad daylight, claiming that a pack of german shepherds was chasing after him.
Another pair of flakka users were caught attempting to break into the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, stating that they thought a group of people had been chasing them. One of the individuals suffered injuries after becoming impaled on a fence. In Palm Beach County, a SWAT team was called to the scene after a man was observed firing a gun from a rooftop, claiming that a Haitian gang had threaded his family and that he was being followed.
Flakka is a synthetic drug, similar to ecstasy and bath salts. According to authorities, flakka can be obtained through the mail, and it is commonly created in countries overseas, including Pakistan and China. For example, DEA agents recently intercepted several packages destined for Palm Beach County containing flakka that was manufactured in Hong Kong.
The active ingredient in flakka is alpha-PVP, which is currently listed on the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances that are most likely to be abused. The drug sells for a relatively low price compared to other substances, sometimes for as low as $5 per hit. Users report feeling a sense of heightened awareness, increased strength, and enhanced tactile sensitivity while on the drug. In most cases, however, paranoia eventually sets in, leading to the strange series of crimes that have sprung up across Florida since the drug’s arrival.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s crime laboratories, use of flakka is on the rise. In 2013, there were 38 reports of flakka use. In 2014, that number rose drastically to 228. In the first three months of 2015, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office has experienced 275 cases involving flakka use, while handling fewer than 200 cases throughout all of 2014.
Other states are dealing with an increased presence of the drug, which is sometimes also referred to as gravel, including Tennessee, Texas, and Ohio. Florida, however, has seen the largest increase of flakka usage throughout the nation.
The Florida Attorney General has taken a strict stance on synthetic drugs, banning bath salts only weeks after taking office. The Attorney General worked with the Florida Legislature to add bath salts and similar derivatives to Florida’s schedule of controlled substances.
If you or someone you know is facing drug possession or distribution charges, The Hoffman Firm can help. Our team of legal professionals has provided compassionate and experienced legal guidance to Florida residents facing a wide variety of drug charges. If you have been arrested on suspicion of drug-related activity, it is important that you discuss your case with no one. Statements you make can be taken out of context and used against you in court–even if you think they may help your case. We offer a free, confidential consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us now at (305) 249-0090 or contact us online to set up your appointment now.
Evan A. Hoffman
Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.Read More
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