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What Is Flakka Drug?

Last Updated 10/12/2021

Flakka is a synthetic street drug with the chemical name alpha PVP (Pyrolinopentiophenome), which triggers a hyperstimulation state, and a high likened to that of cocaine. Its street name is derived from a Spanish slang ‘la flaca,’ which means a beautiful woman. It is a synthetic cathinone made from a cathinone chemical, which is found in the Khat plant. 

The Khat plant is mainly grown in Arabia, and East African countries, and some individuals chew its leaves to attain mild stimulation. Flakka is highly dangerous since it can cause extreme paranoia and trigger violent acts, leading to self-harm. It is also inexpensive, and its price is estimated to range between $3 to $5.

Its popularity is on the rise in the United States, and sometimes it is also called gravel due to its flakey appearance. It is pink or white and in crystal form. Regular flakka use may lead to permanent neurologic effects as it can destroy neurons. Flakka is chemically similar to the street drug bath salts, which also tends to appear like gravel.

The high feeling that one gets after using flakka can last up to three hours. Flakka is part of a group of drugs referred to as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). They are made to imitate other illegal drugs like LSD, ecstasy, and cocaine. NPS emerged in the mid-2000s in the drug market.

What Is Flakka Drug?

There are various cathinone types, for instance, Buphedrone, Methylome, and Bupropion. Alpha-PVP was licensed in 1967 as a stimulant for the central nervous system. Narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Disorder are treated using these stimulants.

The Rise of Flakka’s Popularity

Alpha-PVP was available in tablet form in 2013, and by the end of the following year, it was gaining popularity under the street name flakka. After that, it was given a schedule I status, which denotes that it can be prone to abuse and has no medical value. Flakka is said to have begun gaining fame in South Florida.

It came on the news sources’ limelight after a 19-year-old college student stabbed a couple to death. After that, the student began gnawing on the male victim’s face, and the police believed he was high on flakka. Flakka causes increased sociability, hyperstimulation, and increased sex drive.

As soon as it wears off, one may need to take more of the drug, thereby causing adverse effects. It may trigger suicidal feelings in an individual. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, flakka triggers ‘excited delirium,’ characterized by hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and increased physical strength.

Flakka may also lead to hyperthermia, whereby the temperature of one’s body rises to 105 degrees. Some of the other side effects include; hypertension, aneurysm, renal failure, and narrowed blood vessels. Regardless of the method of intake, it can overdose as any other drug. Vaping is one of the quickest means of overdosing flakka.

Individuals who vape the drug cannot estimate the amount getting ingested. The drug gets into the bloodstream fast and thus overwhelms the individual’s body. A flakka overdose can lead to an increased heartbeat rate, psychosis, muscle twitching, and violent aggression.

Difference Between Bath Salts and Flakka: Irrespective of their chemical similarity, both drugs result in similar effects on individuals. Nevertheless, there is a slight difference between the two street drugs. Bath salts contain (MDVP) Methylenedioxypyrovalerone as an active component, whereas a cluster of 3, 4-methylenedioximotif atoms are absent in flakka.

Flakka Addiction

Despite the detrimental effects due to the use of flakka, the big question arises on why one would dare use this highly risky drug. One of the primary reasons is that it is inexpensive and stimulates a high feeling equated to cocaine. Cocaine snorting results in a high that lasts up to half an hour, while flakka high tends to last up to five hours.

On the other hand, flakka costs $5, whereas one gram of cocaine can approximately cost up to $80, and most Individuals like the homeless, some college students cannot afford cocaine. They, therefore, opt for flakka, which stimulates a relatively long and intense high. It is also reported that flakka is ten times more powerful than cocaine.

It is often mixed with ecstasy, a party drug not to access the drug components. Combining other drugs with flakka can result in intense symptoms likened to those from the heavy use of benzodiazepines. According to a survey from February 2019, 1% of the teens in America have used flakka knowingly, and more have used it unknowingly.

In the year 2015, the number of emergency department visits due to synthetic cathinone rose over 20,000. A research conducted on rats found out that they became addicted to the drug and would thereby press a lever as often as possible to get more of the drug. As an individual who is addicted to flakka use, seeking professional help for detox or withdrawal is advisable to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

What Kind of Treatment Can You Get at The Detox Center of Los Angeles?

Located in Los Angeles, California, The Detox Center of Los Angeles is a fully licensed top-rated drug and alcohol detox, rehab, and PHP, which is also fully accredited by several reputable associations. We offer programs such as outpatient, detox, and residential treatment programs. Our clients work hand in hand with our trained professional therapists to maintain emotional and physical strength during recovery.

We offer various therapeutic services such as cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, psychodynamic, trauma-informed, spirituality, Jungian, family, breathwork, and dialectical-behavioral therapy. Our medical practitioners will come up with the best-individualized treatment plan for you at our facility.

three happy teenagers

We provide comprehensive care to our in-house detox program clients in a highly structured environment with knowledgeable and experienced personnel. During the 5-10-day detox regimen, personalized attention is given to the individuals 24/7. Our state-of-the-art residential inpatient setting enables individuals to deal with post-withdrawal healing safely.

If you need FREE help please contact the National Helpline about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, treatment, and recovery in English and Spanish.

Final Word

People who use flakka can be poor decision-makers and can hurt themselves and others due to the psychosis from flakka intake. Knowing the dangers of this street drug is essential since it is compelling, and an individual’s first flakka use can be life-endangering and maybe the last in the case of death.


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Will my insurance cover treatment for addiction?

The Detox Center of L.A. accepts most major insurance providers and private healthcare policies. We offer free insurance verification as well as eligibility and benefits for both behavioral and mental health treatment services. Please fill out our insurance verification form here to verify your insurance.

What happens in addiction

Effective addiction treatment programs are tailored to each individual. Because of this, it will be a different experience for everyone. However, it generally involves a combination of detoxification, group and individual therapy, educational presentations, and aftercare planning in order to ensure long-term recovery. Upon arrival at The Detox Center of L.A., you can expect our professionally trained staff to create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs and treatment goals.