New Drug Flakka Enters Georgia, affecting citizens in Riverdale

In the past few years, a drug known as flakka has occasionally made national news, usually after a person who took this drug acted in a bizarre manner or committed a horrific act.

Many of the more sensational and/or salacious flakka-related news reports, including cases where individuals who had taken this powerful drug committed murders and even attempted to eat their victims, originated in Florida. But just because the words “metro Atlanta area” and “flakka epidemic” didn’t appear in headlines, doesn’t mean Clayton County and other parts of southern Georgia are immune to the many dangers posed by flakka abuse.

Flakka Enters Georgia

In October 2015, Atlanta-based WSB-TV reported that flakka had crossed the Florida-Georgia border and that law enforcement personnel in southern Georgia were having more frequent encounters with individuals who were under the influence of this dangerous drug.

I’ve been in law enforcement since 1988 and that’s one of the scariest things I’ve seen in my life,” one southern Georgia police officer told WSB-TV about his interactions with a man who was cutting his arms and neck while under the influence of flakka.

South of the Atlanta metropolitan area, Major Prurince Dice of the Albany-Dougherty County Drug Unit described the effect of flakka in stark and troubling detail in an interview with WALB News 10: “People running around with their clothes off thinking they are possessed by the devil. [Flakka] gives them more strength than what they actually have,” Major Dice told WALB. “And it can kill you.”

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in August 2016, flakka is a synthetic drug that shares structural similarities with amphetamines and acts as a stimulant. The chemical name of flakka is alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, which is often shortened to Alpha-PVP. When a person ingests flakka, which can be done via a variety of means, he or she can enter a state of excited delirium that can last for several hours.

Facts About Flakka

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that flakka is in the cathinone category of drugs, a grouping that also contains the dangerous headline-making substance known by the street name “bath salts.” Like bath salts, flakka can induce hyperstimulation and paranoia, which can cause people who ingest this substance to engage in acts of extreme violence and to become a danger to themselves and others.

As terrifying as flakka can be, it is unfortunately far from the only substance that has the potential to cause significant harm in the metro Atlanta area and across Clayton County. For example, bath salts, which like flakka are synthetic cathinone’s, have been responsible for several frightening incidents in Atlanta and surrounding communities in recent years. And both law enforcement personnel and treatment experts throughout Clayton County continue to deal with the damage caused by the abuse of amphetamines, methamphetamine, and other stimulants.

Overcoming Flakka Abuse

If there is a glimmer of hope amid the news about flakka and similar substances in southern Georgia, it is that addictions to these drugs are treatable conditions. With proper care, individuals whose lives have been destroyed by dependence upon dangerous drugs such as flakka can learn to overcome their self-defeating urges and live healthier and more satisfying lives. And, given the grievous harm that can result from a single use of flakka, getting effective treatment can literally be a life-saving experience.