Dangerous Synthetic Drug Flakka Growing in Popularity

Over the last few years concerns have been mounting about dangerous synthetic drugs being used across the country. The most common synthetic drugs come in the form of bath salts or herbal plant matter sprayed with powerful chemicals designed to mimic the effects of traditional narcotics.

Synthetic marijuana is perhaps the most popular amongst teenagers and young adults, sold under brands names like Spice and K2. Officials have had a difficult time policing these drugs because the manufactures quickly alter the chemical makeup as soon as the government issues a ban.

The latest synthetic drug to gain popularity is known as “flakka” (alpha-PVP), a synthetic stimulant drug of the cathinone class – a cousin of the chemical used on the widely used bath salts (MDPV). While flakka cases have been confined to Florida, officials are not finding the insidious drug in other states, The Wall Street Journal reports. Flakka is known to cause delusions and aggression, and can be addictive.

Officials in South Florida have found that alpha-PVP has replaced crack cocaine due to cheap prices and ease of purchase online from China, according to Capt. Dana Swisher of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. He says, “Our concern is that we’re going to start getting people into the game that weren’t necessarily potential sellers and distributors in the past.”

Many users of flakka, as well as other synthetic drugs, are unaware of just how dangerous they can be. The medical examiner in Broward County, South Florida reports that flakka has been linked to 29 deaths in the past year, according to the article. Other states can expect to see similar instances; officials have already seen cases in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

The common side effects associated with alpha-PVP use include:

  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Excited Delirium
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations


If you or a loved one is abusing synthetic drugs, please do not hesitate, contact Harmony Foundation to begin the journey of recovery. Harmony is a state-of-the-art, affordable, residential addiction treatment program located in the Rocky Mountains.

Addiction and recovery news provided by Harmony Foundation.