Tag Archives: synthetic marijuana

Synthetic Drug Flakka is Potent and Addictive

We recently shared with you a brief history of synthetic drugs, highlighting the dangers of these drugs in the future. As the synthetic drug landscape widens, new variations of drugs like “bath salts” (MDPV) and synthetic cannabis are sending hundreds of people to emergency rooms across the country. These types of products are sprayed with chemicals that mimic the effects of traditional mind altering drugs, but lack the chemical consistency which makes the side effects both unpredictable and dangerous.

One of the latest synthetic drugs to hit the streets is known as Flakka (alpha-PVP). Flakka is a drug which is as potent as a stimulant, and therefore as addictive as its chemical cousin MDPV, Science Daily reports. The findings come from researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).

Recently, a number of southern states, especially Florida have seen increased incidents of Flakka use among citizens. The side-effects associated with Flakka use include, but are not limited to:

  • Extreme Violence
  • Paranoid Psychoses
  • Compulsive Nudity
  • Zombie-like Behavior
  • Superhuman Strength

“There have been assertions that flakka is somehow worse than MDPV, but this study shows that the two are very similar,” said Michael A. Taffe, an associate professor at TSRI.

While Flakka may not be worse than bath salts, drugs which have been tied to a number of horrific news stories, co-senior author of the study, TSRI Associate Professor Tobin J. Dickerson added, “That doesn’t mean that flakka use is ‘safe’ — our data show that flakka is as potent as MDPV, making it a very good stimulant, arguably with worse addiction liability than methamphetamine.”

Potential users of synthetic drugs need to understand that they are taking huge risks when they use these types of chemicals. View little, if any in some cases, human testing is conducted with chemicals like MDPV and alpha-PVP – there is no way of knowing what kind of side-effects the user will experience.

The findings were published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

A Brief History of Synthetic Drugs

In the United States, there have been a number of horror stories in the news related to designer drugs, such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts. These types of drugs are sprayed with chemicals that when consumed mimic the effects of popular illegal drugs. Governments around the world have had a hard time keeping up with what has quickly become a billion dollar industry; and banning these types of drugs has proven difficult because chemists are constantly altering the drugs chemical composition.

The history of this emerging industry is actually quite interesting and is probably a different story then you may have guessed. In New Zealand, where cocaine distribution is minimal, people started cooking crystal methamphetamine which led to a national crisis. In an attempt to curb methamphetamine use and create drugs safer for consumers, a New Zealander set out to find a drug that mimicked meth but didn’t have those terrible side effects, VICE News reports.

Over the last 15 years, Matt Bowden, a recovering methamphetamine abuser, has created a synthetic drug empire that started with a drug called BZP (Benzylpiperazine). Bowden petitioned the parliament and was able to get BZP legalized. Over an eight year period, 26M BZP pills were used by 400,000 people without injury, according to the report.

After a public outcry, the New Zealand government banned BZP, to which Bowden responded by formulating an unregulated derivative of ecstasy (MDMA) – Methylone. However, it did not take long for that to be banned as well, so Bowden pivoted again creating different synthetic drugs.

Seeing the market value of these types of drugs, synthetic drug labs popped up in countries with little standards for production. The majority of synthetic drugs sold across the United States, the ones associated with the terrible news stories and spikes in emergency room visits were probably formulated in Chinese super labs, the article reports. Synthetic compounds are produced by the kiloton in Shanghai, China. The chemicals are sold to aftermarket companies and placed in packaging marketed as synthetic marijuana and bath salts not for human consumption.

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