At the end of November, Southern California saw a surge in medical emergencies linked to a bad batch of synthetic marijuana. Commonly sold under the brand name of Spice or K2, synthetic cannabinoid users often experience severe side effects that, without treatment, can be fatal.
On the other side of the country, the State of Florida has seen a dramatic rise in synthetic drug related incidents in recent years. The chemicals used to make these types of drugs are manufactured in China, and then sprayed on herbs or bath salts. When ingested, the chemicals produce a number of effects, such as hallucinations, increased energy, and euphoria.
Use of synthetic drugs has been associated with:
- Suicidal Tendencies and Attempts
- Homicidal Tendencies
- Chest Pain
- Heart attack
Until recently, synthetic drug manufacturers in China operated with little impunity. Producers of the chemicals have no oversight and do not conduct human testing before they sell their chemicals. After serious scrutiny from the United States and others, China banned more than 100 chemicals used to make synthetic drugs, The Miami Herald reports. Chemicals used to make alpha-PVP, better known as flakka, which has been abused all over South Florida as of late. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports that it is now illegal in China to distribute flakka, fentanyl, and other chemicals at home and overseas.
“The ban of the sale of the listed synthetic drugs will hopefully have a positive impact with regard to reducing the designer drug threat in the United States,” said Diane Boland, director of toxicology at the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office. “Only time will tell.”
On top the serious side effects produced by synthetic drugs, the substances can become habit forming, leading to addiction. If you or a loved one struggles with synthetic drug use, please contact Synergy Group Services. Our approach is rooted in a holistic mind, body and spirit approach, which blends traditional counseling and alternative medicine to achieve a synergistic outcome.
The side effects of synthetic drugs, such as Spice (synthetic marijuana) and ‘bath salts’ (MDPV), are often unpredictable and can be extremely dangerous. The chemical formulas of these types of drugs are constantly being altered in an effort to stay one step ahead of the authorities, which means there are very few (if any) human trials before the compounds hit the market.
One of the latest synthetic drugs that has been making the news headlines is known as Flakka (alpha-PVP). The new drug has had widespread use in the southern states, especially Florida. Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found that alpha-PVP seems to be as equivalently potent as a stimulant, and therefore as addictive as the drugs cousin, MDPV, Medical Xpress reports.
“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.
However, study co-author Tobin J. Dickerson adds, “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.”
Flakka, which comes in a crystalline rock form, can be consumed in a number of ways – it can be:
- Vaped in an E-Cigarette
While the side effects of Flakka use vary, users often show signs of:
- Extreme Violence
- Paranoid Psychoses
- Compulsive Nudity
- Zombie-like Behavior
- Superhuman Strength
Research is still being conducted on the long term effects of the drug, as well as the health problems that may arise from continued use. It is already known that Flakka can affect the kidneys, leading to kidney failure or death.
The findings were published in the journal Psychopharmacology.