Like most things, South Africa is always one of the last places to pick up on a trend. This time however, it would have been nice if we were left in the dark with this one.
The highly addictive stimulant which goes by many names such as ‘the zombie drug’ or the ‘gateway to hell drug’ has officially hit South Africa.
Flakka has been reportedly distributed in both, Durban and Cape Town and is being disguised as chewy sweets. This drug is classed as a hallucinogenic drug that causes “possessed-like” behaviour.
We did some investigation into the facts surrounding Flakka. Check out some of our findings:
What Is Flakka?
Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), has been given the street name of Flakka has been around longer than most people think. Flakka is known as a cathinones that is found in the plant, Khat.
This plant is found in the Middle East and East Africa. The history of this drug dates back to the 1930’s when people used to chew the leaves of the Khat plant in order to get the an almost indescribable strength that this drug provides users with.
Since then, the drug has been manufactured by places like China and sold online illegally to dealers around the world.
The drug is often known as bath salts and can be smoked, snorted, injected or ingested by the users. Once taken once, this highly addictive drug can cause long term damage to the brain.
According to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration schedule-1 labeled drugs are defined as, “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse…the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”
How Dangerous Is Flakka?
Flakka leaves people unable to speak and in an almost possessed state where they become dangerous to themselves and others. Many studies claim that Flakka is even more dangerous than heroine and crystal methamphetamine as it has longer lasting side effects.
“The drug also prevents neurons, or brain cells, from reabsorbing these brain chemicals, meaning the effects of the drug may linger in the system longer than people anticipate,” explains American epidemiologist James Hall.
The longer the drugs sit on the neurons in the brain, the more it destroys the cells.
The following physical effects of Flakka are the following:
- Abnormal heart rates;
- Raised temperature;
- Muscle spasm;
- Teeth grinding;
- Jaw clenching.
These effects can be coupled with feelings of super strength and a feeling of rage and anger, almost like a Hulk state of being.
“The individual becomes psychotic, they often rip off their clothes and run out into the street violently and have an adrenaline-like strength and police are called and it takes four or five officers to restrain them. Then once they are restrained, if they don’t receive immediate medical attention they can die.” adds Hall.
The video below depicts the effects that Flakka has on users.
Flakka In South Africa
There has been a few reported cases confirming that Flakka has made its way to South Africa. It is currently being sold on the street for between R400 – R1000.
SA Community Crime Watch founder Steven King, explained in a previous interview the importance of awareness when it comes to drugs such as Flakka.
“This is a very dangerous drug and has caused many deaths in many parts of the world. South Africa is not winning the war on drugs and Flakka is going to be the evil of all evils if it’s not taken care off. We need stricter sentences for drug dealers and a concerted effort will have to be made to educate our people about the dangers of this and other drugs,” explains King.
The Cape Flats are one of the first areas to be reported of Flakka distribution. This past weekend, a man was stabbed by his neighbour who was on a Flakka high.
Bontheuwel resident, Noel Dada, told a local news publication that he was stabbed repeatedly by someone who was under the influence of Flakka.
“I don’t know what was wrong with him, but he looked mad. He didn’t try to rob me, but just ran around with a big knife. He ran up to me and stabbed me in the head and I just felt the blood running,” Dada told the news publication.
Dada was taken to a local hospital where he received treatment.