Remember the infamous Florida zombie who stripped naked and literally ate another man’s face off? To the disappointment of George A. Romero fans everywhere, the attack was not caused by sinister undead forces, but a dangerous combination of street drugs.
One of those new drugs is called ‘flakka’, or Alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, a synthetic stimulant that is vaped, snorted, eaten and smoked. The reported effects are violent rage, paranoia, and screaming. Flakka is more potent than bath salts and has been called “$5 insanity.”
The hallucinogenic substance first surfaced in 2013, said Florida police, and its popularity continued to surge. Flakka’s active ingredient, alpha-PVP, is synthetically similar to bath salts, but its effects are even stronger.
The appeal of flakka seems rather uncertain, as it essentially turns the user into a psychotic beast—a superzombie— for a prolonged period. According to a doctor:
“This is where the body goes into hyperthermia, generally a temperature of 105 degrees. 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.”
Here are just a few examples of what taking flakka—apparently localized to Florida—will do to you.
There have been multiple reports of people getting arrested while high on the drug. In April, a Fort Lauderdale man stripped naked and was running down a busy Florida intersection, claiming that a pack of rabid German shepherd dogs were chasing him. Police apprehended the naked jogger and had a psychiatric evaluation done on him—as it turns out, he was high on flakka.
“Longtime addicts who have tried flakka, they’re terrified of it,” Broward County Sheriff’s Office treatment counselor Don Maines told the Sun-Sentinel. “They can’t think straight, they’re paranoid, they think people are chasing them. One guy thought he was surrounded by German shepherds that were attacking him.”
In May, another naked man—high on flakka—tried to break into a Florida police station by kicking in the door because he thought the mob was trying to kill him.
Yet another nude male, having identical delusions attempted to scale a police station fence, impaling himself on a spike, local police said. Fortunately, he was given medical attention and survived.
A man who was convinced he was the Norse God Thor, tried to have sex with a tree – and yes, he was also naked.
A 20-year-old woman named Qushanna Doby was charged with child neglect after she left her one-year-old baby alone in the street. She claimed she couldn’t remember where she left the child after blacking out from the synthetic drug.
“Someone please call my sister,” Leroy Strothers, 33, cried out as he stood naked and armed on a Lake Worth rooftop. “I feel delusional, and I’m hallucinating!” When Strothers saw authorities approaching the building, he placed the Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol he was carrying to his head and pulled the trigger. When the suicide attempt failed, he told police officers he had taken flakka and was depressed about the mother of his child cheating on him.
It’s clear that taking flakka is probably a bad idea, especially if you’re body-conscious. All of these disturbing instances took place in Florida—so if you were planning on retiring there, you might want to rethink that particular decision. Clearly it’s not all sunshine, oranges and swimming pools.