A synthetic drug refers to a designer drug intended to mimic the “high” of popular illegal drugs such as cocaine, LSD, stimulants, and marijuana. The term “synthetic” refers to the idea that the drugs undergo heavy processing and treatment, unlike other drugs which may be extracts or derived from simpler substances.
Recently, bath salts, a type of synthetic drug, has become popular. They can sometimes yield amphetamine-like or methamphetamine-like effects when taken. Another type of drug called Flakka has become popular among young people.
Flakka is a designer drug. In street language, Flakka means “skinny young girl” or “skinny little girl.” Sometimes, the drug is referred to as “gravel” because of how it looks. The drug, sometimes spelled Flocka, resembles gravel because it consists of tiny white or pink crystals.
Flakka is derived from a West African plant called khat. The plant is used in places such as Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and the Horn of Africa to get high or relax. Flakka is a synthetic form of the plant.
The drug interferes with the neurotransmitter in the brain. People who consume the drug:
- Suffer from extreme paranoia;
- Suffer delusions;
- Become restless; and/or
- Become aggressive.
People can suffer muscle and kidney damage and heart problems after taking the designer drug. In some cases, persons who have consumed Flakka engage in highly disturbing behavior, such as attacking or biting people, taking off clothes, or contorting their bodies into unnatural positions.
Flakka is mainly sold in Asia. People are buying the drug over the Internet and distributing in the United States. Certain states, such as Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee are experiencing a dramatic increase of people using the drug. Florida has also seen a tremendous spike in Flakka users in some counties.
Adolescents and young adults are the most common users of Flakka, although its use may be spreading to other demographics. The drug is popularly used as an alternative to other drugs like marijuana or methamphetamines.
In 2014, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) added Flakka on its restrictive list of controlled substances. This makes it easier for the federal government to prosecute sellers of Flakka. Possible penalties also increase to a 10-year sentence if the defendant is convicted of selling Flakka.
A potential sentence for possessing Flakka depends on the jurisdiction and the facts involved in the case. For example, possession may be a misdemeanor with a fine and year in jail. Possession of higher amounts with intent to distribute may result higher fines and longer jail time, and possible felony charges.
Like all illegal drug charges, criminal charges involving Flakka are very serious and carry harsh potential punishments. If you are facing Flakka charges, you absolutely should contact a criminal lawyer to help you fight your drug charge. You may also wish to consult a counselor or drug specialist if someone you know is being affected by Flakka.