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Flakka (courtesy

I’ll never forget my first firearms training course. The Rhode Island cop lecturing the classroom of aspiring newbies wanted us to know that bad guys on drugs possessed superhuman strength. They were completely insensitive to both reason and pain. The main drug in question was crystal meth. “Don’t just shoot them and expect them to fall down,” he warned. “Shoot them a many times as you can.” Flash forward God-knows-how-many-years and we’re talking about a new crystalline “devil’s drug.” reports . . .

On the street, it’s known as flakka — a synthetic crystal imported from China that is wreaking havoc in South Florida and threatening to spread its misery and profits across the country.

It’s cheap, crazily addictive and terrifying. A single dose smoked, swallowed or snorted can give a user a potent but fleeting rush — or turn them into a paranoid zombie with superhuman strength and off-the-charts vital signs.

In the 14 months since the epidemic began in Broward County, 60 people have died. Hospitals are getting dozens of patients a day. And some nights, half the calls to police are flakka-related emergencies.

Floridians say it’s the worst drug crisis they have seen since the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. First responders describe nightmarish scenes with users running naked into traffic or impaling themselves on fences.

Pharmacologically speaking, flakka is cathinone or benzoylethanamine, derived from the khat plant. [Click here to read more about the “cousin to bath salts.”] has the 411 on flakka’s seemingly benign origins . . .

Over 20 million people in the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa chew khat leaves daily. It is an important piece of the culture and economy in this region, especially in Ethiopia, where khat is said to have originated, Kenya, Djibouti, and Yemen. Men usually chew it during parties or other social gatherings while smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. Farmers and other workers also use khat in the afternoon to reduce fatigue and hunger as the day goes on. It functions like the caffeine in a strong cup of coffee as an anti-fatigue drug. Students and drivers have been known to use it to stay alert for longer periods of time.

Crystalized and smoked, cathinone makes people go ape shit, apparently. NBC portrays flakka as “the new crack.” Only worse . . .

“I talk to patrol and they say it’s every other call some nights…just one after the other, all flakka-related calls,” said Capt. Dana Swisher of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

“Anytime we respond to a flakka-related call from patrol, we’re gonna require at last three to four officers to respond.” . . .

When they arrive, their heart rate is often between 150 and 200 beats per minute, with blood pressure at “near-lethal” levels like 230/160. They may have been injured struggling with rescue workers and sometimes their kidneys are already failing.

“They come in hot, crazy, insane, out of their mind and then on top of that, fast heart rate and high blood pressure,” he said.

“I would say of all the drugs I’ve seen — cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, Oxycontin — this is the absolute worst.”

“It’s five-dollar insanity,” he added.

Coming to a neighborhood near you?

Outside of Florida, where the substance is sometimes called “gravel,” clusters of cases have also been seen in big cities like Chicago, Houston and New York City and in more rural states like Kentucky.

What’s so alarming is how quickly it gains ground. In 2013, Broward County’s crime lab tested just seven samples of flakka that was seized or found in fatalities. By 2014, that was up to 576, and it’s topped 900 so far this year, [co-chair of the United Way’s flakka team and an epidemiologist Jim] Hall said.

What does this have to do with guns? Perhaps nothing.

The NBC report doesn’t say whether the Florida cops are triple-teaming flakka addicts because of user’s violent tendencies. But if we assume flakka press coverage isn’t another example of “reefer madness,” we might also assume that flakka addiction will lead to increased criminal predation by its addicts. At the least, it will continue to support the violent gangs that control the illegal drug trade.

While I never discount the simple, incredibly powerful effects of adrenalin on criminal behavior, it appears the RI cop may have provided sound advice. Prematurely. Something to consider. As well as the possibility that the media’s flakka coverage will increase the number of Americans exercising their gun rights. Which is no bad thing, really. [Note: legally speaking, armed self-defenders may only shoot to “stop the threat” (not kill). However many rounds that takes, and no more.]

[h/t mister3d]

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  1. The media knows as little about drugs and drug use as they do about guns. Look at the glue sniffing, “epidemic,” in the late 50s and early 60s. Media manufacturing of a problem at its finest.

    • My first thought as well. On the other hand, there has been some crazy shit with bath salts, and if the stories about this new drug are true, it is a self-correcting problem. People want to get high, not die. and if bunches of people die, its popularity will wane.

      • Drug laws are usually rather specific in their chemical description of the drugs.

        The bugaboo with these ‘designer’ drugs is that they are slight ‘tweaks’ to other known drugs, often just a slight change in the molecular structure.

        Now it’s not illegal (yet), at least until the legislators draft new laws.

        Move, counter-move.

        Lather, rinse, repeat…

        • This isn’t a “slight change” to drug. This is the same stuff the locals were wrecked on in Mogadishu during the whole Adide thing. It’s a plant extract that’s finally made it’s way here.

      • Its not ice tea, but rather Arizona Tea brand Watermelon juice. And, the active ingredient, really, is the prescription cough syrup. Plus, of course, the Skittles (or, apparently other somewhat sour candies, like Jolly Ranchers).

  2. So let me get this straight- Chinese pharmaceutical companies are making this stuff and off loading it here. Sounds like a great way to soften up a target before the next stage of take over… The Opium Wars in reverse

    • It’s likely not the pharmaceutical companies.

      Buying bulk precursors in China is much easier than in the US. A bribe can get what they need without pesky questions as to why they want it.

      A trained chemist over there in a clandestine lab could knock it out as side work…

      • Clandestine…perhaps.. Tolerated by the Chinese regime… Completely. They are not our friends. Make no mistake this is one means to weaken us… Via our own stupidity.

    • Opium Wars indeed. The funny thing is that a century ago opium was legal in the US and very few people could be bothered to use it. Today it seems like 90% of our fellow citizens only desire is to get hammered on some junk every day….

      • Agreed. All these things (drug use, hedonistic sex, no morals) keep bringing me back to Brave New World. In the absence of true religious experience we, the people, fall to our most basest impulses. The Republic can not stand without people with the resolve to defend her.

      • I know that’s the pop-culture dis-info, but that’s what it is – propaganda.

        The facts are that we have about the same percentage of addicts that we had when you got you pharma grade opium and cocaine legally at the corner druggist. The vast majority of people who use coke, heroin, crack, and even meth are recreational users – they party up on the weekend then go back to work on Monday. Were that not the case, the streets would be awash with homeless druggies.

        Just like prohibiting guns, if you want “it”, you can get “it”. “It” just costs more than it would through normal distribution channels.

        Which is what the real “killer” part of most drugs – the price and the purity. How many alcoholics do you know that have overdosed on booze? Not many. Why? It’s cheap and as a legal product, it better be clean. Know how many people have gone blind or worse from moonshine? More that a few…

        More importantly, how many people end up living on the street simply because they spent all their money on booze? $8 a day for a 1L of rail vodka. (Yes, you can get fired as an alky, but generally, you check into treatment and that’s that.) No real stain on your life, hey, drunk got sober. Good for him. It’s a little different with ‘controlled substances’.

        I am neither rich nor famous, but the nature of some of my business dealings, hobbies, and friends have me interacting with them regularly. I cannot begin to tell the number of people I have met over the decades who went through a ‘coke stage’ where they spent $5-6K a month on blow. A couple went to treatment, but just like booze and other chems, most folks wake up one day and say, “gotta stop”. And they did. Why does it matter that they were rich? Because if they weren’t, they could have been in a whole lotta knock-on trouble, not paying the mortgage of something worse until they got a grip.

        Desert Ranger, Humans have enjoyed altering their consciousness since the minute they figured out how to do so. From the Whirling Dervishes, to alcohol, to ‘shrooms. Some folks get bored with this reality and need a different one (or a modified one) for a bit. Have you heard of the success rates treating PTSD with MDMA?

        • Actually there is a huge Heroin problem. This is NOT recreational. There is a shortage of pills, at least where I live, and Heroin has filled the void. Cheaper than pills it becomes a daily use and necessary to function. I personally know people who not only have gone thru their savings but also have sold most of their possessions. They then turn to stealing from family and acquaintances. The next step will be worse. I asked an addict “how did it get to this point, you have nothing left?” The answer was “nothing matters except the drug”.
          I see a rise in “Home invasions” in my area and believe that drugs are to blame. Treatment centers where I live are full and turn those that want help away while the ones there that are mandated have no desire to stop.
          BTW this is a recent revelation on my part. I had no idea of the severity. I don’t home carry but my firearm is always close by.

  3. anybody who encounters a meth user has to see the effects. immediate unrecoverable downward spiral, a clearly visible attack of creeping buttugliness, a special king of stupid. It baffles my brain that anyone who knows or has seen any meth user would start using meth.

    and then oxycontin

    and now this…

    WTF is their major malfunction? “It won’t happen to me!” WTFingF?

    • “My life is already pretty boring. I’m too young to die, but even if I’m not, dying young is better than living another 30 boring years and dying of the cigarettes/booze like my dad did.”

    • Or we could allow pharmaceutical grade meth to be sold over the counter to adults. Then maybe we could again get cold meds that actually work. The problem isn’t the meth. It is that the drug is illegal and users are forced to buy a concoction made in some one’s garage out of drano and battery acid.

  4. you are 100% correct
    As an Anesthesiologist, and a gun nut, I always laugh my ass off at the msm reporting on drugs and guns
    I too remembr the hysteria over glue sniffing, “huffing”, high potency marijuana, crack, oxycontin pills, crystal meth, bath salts and now flakka
    Does the media have any response that is not the impending fall of western civilization?
    Certainly people have died and lives ruined by drugs
    A simple “drugs are bad for you” message sums it all up
    I do not advocate drug legalization, but some kind of harm reduction strategy in regards to drug users seems preferable to locking up thousands of mostly minority Americans for non violent drug offenses.
    Mexicos problems with Cartel violence is directly related to the U.S.A.’s insatiable demand for drugs
    We need to rethink our criminal justice system to lock up violent criminals and do something else with simple drug users

    • +1. Sure, drug use is not guaranteed by the constitution. That said, anti-drug and anti-gun arguments sure start to sound pretty similar after a while. “Because of the actions of a few, we should limit the lives of many. After all, we do know what’s better for them than they themselves do.” Not every gun owner is a spree killer waiting to snap, and not every drug user is a violent, thieving lunatic.

      • “Sure, drug use is not guaranteed by the constitution.”

        You sure about that? They had to pass an Amendment to outlaw booze. Did I miss the ratification of the Amendment that outlawed common plants?

        I’m not pro-drug, but I don’t see how I have the right to tell other people what to do with their time, money, property and bodies.

        “But if we allow people to get high they will get behind the wheel of a car and kill children!”

        They do that anyway. Besides, that’s the same argument as “If we allow people to carry guns in schools, then some psycho will kill children.”

        • People always forget about the Ninth Amendment. The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights is not an exhaustive list, but rather a few items of particular emphasis. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are there to remind everyone, especially the government that the default position is freedom for the individual, and restraint on government.

      • The power to regulate drugs (or any substance) is not constitutionally given to the fed. The manner in which they are used could perhaps be argued. Government has stuck their fingers into so many pies that most people accept it as if it were divine right.

    • Gell-Mann amnesia.

      I ran into this when I read The Da Vinci code. I thought the book was good enough and bought Digital Fortress (Dan Brown).

      Now I don’t really know that much about Da Vinci and Catholic church history, but I do know information technology and encryption. I was stunned at the amount of complete fantasy and BS in the second book, hence have to assume the first was full of the same stuff.

      Now Brown writes fiction, it’s just entertainment, but this really applies to all journalism. These people have no idea what they are writing about and only want to get readers. Don’t trust any of it.

    • It is a lot easier to monetize the impending fall of western civilization than it is to squeeze extra advertising revenue out of an emerging but isolated issue. As for drug use, I think society can handle total marijuana legalization. It would be good to pilot different approaches with harder drugs.

  5. “Don’t just shoot them and expect them to fall down,” he warned. “Shoot them a many times as you can.”

    This is sage advise, whether drugs are involved or not.

    • Just remember the tail end of the advice – once they have fallen down, stop shooting. Cops can keep shooting at that point, but you probably cannot. You can start shooting again if they try to get up. But, it is probably no longer self-defense if they are on the ground, no longer advancing, because the threat is no longer imminent nor is it a reasonable fear. Which means that it isn’t self-defense, and your continuing to shoot is probably somewhere between manslaughter and murder.

  6. This idiocy is a straight forward consequence of our drug laws. We have hundreds, in some cases thousands, of years of data on the most common drugs (marijuana, opiates, alcohol, cocaine, etc) but since we decided these should be illegal we instead have people trying untested and in some cases extraordinarily dangerous compounds because it is the only way they can get high. The reality is barring iv heroin use, most illegal drugs have little effect on long term survivability. If as a society we continue to ban these drugs people will still get high, but at an ever increasing cost and impact to society. Enough already, leave consenting adults to their own leisure and worry instead about non-consenual criminal activity.

    • If we legalized drugs then they will lose their potency and no one will ever introduce a new drug again. /sarc.

      Drug legalizers and gun grabbers are cock sure they have “the answer” to societies ills.

      • The government has no right to tell me what I can or can’t ingest assuming I cause no harm to others. If you vote for drug control because something bad “may” happen then you’re voting for intrusive government intervention into the private lives of its citizens.

        • Except when you put certain substances in your body you can act in ways that effect other people. You know, like run over someone with your car? That is the real difference between “evil cigarettes” and “good drugs.” Cigarettes don’t affect your behavior so the only person who dies is you. The autonomous individual is the fantasy of the faux Libertarian. Your personal autonomy ends at your front door and only if you live alone. So as far as I am concerned you are entitled to unregulated use of drugs if you live solo and don’t leave the house. Otherwise the community has a right to regulate your use of drugs.

        • Except when you put certain substances in your body you can act in ways that effect other people.

          Sounds like an excellent argument for alcohol prohibition. Maybe you could start a push for some sort of amendment to the Constitution or something. I can’t possibly see how it could turn out badly. If only we had some prior experience we could go by….

        • “Except when you put certain substances in your body you can act in ways that effect(sic) other people.”

          Except when you live your life you can act in ways that affect other people.


      • Funny, I think of prohibitionists and gun grabbers as being much more alike.

        “Just let us outlaw these common objects people have been using for thousands of years and then we guarantee nothing bad will ever happen again! Iz for the childreeeeeeen!!!!”

        Hey, if the price is having morbidly obese cops in tacticool gear bust down your door at 3 A.M. and shoot your dog before throwing a flash-bang into your baby’s crib, then it’s worth it to guarantee that some busybody in Wisconsin isn’t lying awake at night, worried about what other people are doing in the privacy of their own homes with their own property.

      • I fail to see how you could use gun grabber and drug legalizer as two of the same. gun grabber= statist, government knows best, please intrude in my life. drug legalizer = pro freedom, make your own decisions and love with them, stay the hell out of my business. the pro drug and the pro gun group have a lot more in common than one would think.

        • That’s because you lack imagination and are stuck in your own little bubble. The statement was not about government at all. It was about simple minded cause and effect. Gun grabbers say guns cause violence so ban guns. You say violence is caused by illegal drugs so legaluze them. Neither statement is true but you both want it to be.

      • @Cloud buster

        Nice strawman there. You are not even trying to come up with reasoned reply. If you base your rights on personal autonomy then you don’t have any more rights then the community chooses gives you because to the extent that personal autonomy exists it is very limited. Do you think that community has no right to regulate your behavior that can have adverse effects on others? That is tantamount to saying you have a right to get drunk and kill someone with no penalty beyond financial compensation.

        How about this, you can have the right to put whatever substance in your body that you please but if you kill someone then your life is forfeit. You ok with that? Didn’t think so.

        • Simple minded cause and effect or not, I bet my solution solves a lot more violence than theirs. Also I always side with a solution that promotes freedom instead of intrusion. Ban guns and our country is good and well fucked. Legalize drugs and the same people who were already fucked, will remain so.

        • Not sure why you’re going down this road…

          Because someone getting high could affect someone else? Getting behind the wheel perfectly sober and wide-awake could get someone killed. Do we ban potential?

          I don’t give two good flyin’s what might happen. All that matters is what does happen – millions of people drink, only a tiny fraction have issues and crash cars and such. The ones who drive so hammered as to get caught, or actually hit someone, they are punished. The rest are free to go about their business.

          Just like alcohol, the vast majority of ‘drug users’ are recreational. They get high, stop, go back to regular life. They have no negative impact on anyone else. Making it nobody’s damned business what they do.

          All sorts of people do all sorts of things which I don’t think are so smart. But it isn’t my place to attempt to stop them. Especially via the law.

  7. Darwins law at it’s finest. I’m for legalizing drugs and treatment, not prison. But some people simply are to stupid to live.

  8. Drug addicts need more of these type of drugs. Evolution in action.
    I suppose my calloused attitude towards the dopers comes from high school where the doppers were high in the school and really thought they were oh so cool and full of wow and zow, They were full of something all right.

    • Users and abusers (addicts) aren’t the same. That said, now in recovery, I agree with you. In active addiction I was a tool and a half. Thank god it only took me five years to figure out I wanted to get my shit straight. There is hope for those caught in the grip of addiction, but it isn’t prison and it sure as hell isnt death.

    • So you’re okay with suspending parts of the Constitution and instituting a police state just because some tools in your high school thought they were cooler than they actually were?

      It’s remarkably similar to some Leftists I know, who grew up in small towns but couldn’t wait to move to NYC/SF/DC just to get away from those “stupid rednecks with their TRUCKS and their GUNS.. we need to ban TRUCKS and GUNS!!!!111”

      • So you’re okay with suspending parts of the Constitution and instituting a police state just because some tools in your high school thought they were cooler than they actually were?
        Oh no, I want them to have all the drugs they want and more!

  9. I remember the dreaded Krokodil threat from a couple years ago. Totally overblown like pretty much every drug war story. The biggest reason why Krokodil will never take off in the United States is that other opiates are relatively easy to get here. Nobody needs to cook codeine to get high here and the codeine is actually much harder to source, but is easy to obtain in Russia. So essentially Russia has limited supply of other opiates and users find a more dangerous way to get high. Prohibition fails again.

  10. He was probably on PCP. Broke every bone in his hand and wouldn’t feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar?

  11. Idiots adopt new ways to kill themselves and we try to stop them. It makes me wonder who’s the bigger idiot.

  12. Its not new here. There have been reports over the past 3 -4 years. Like has been said earlier here. The press and police no nothing about guns or drugs. Specifically first hand anyway.
    Its like when they 1st reported “Ice” a few decades ago in Hawaii. Or “crack” back in the 80s. Completely forgetting that was old then and not new too. Crack is just the 70s freebasing.
    If the blasted media would shut up about these things and NOT advertise it. There would be much less abuse of it.

  13. Sounds a lot like Jimson Weed/loco weed, but temperature isn’t mentioned.
    Mad as a hatter
    Blind as a bat
    Hotter than hell (last one I saw had a rectal temp of 108.)
    Red as a beet
    Dry as a bone
    and implied but not part of the pneumonic “dumber than s**t.”

  14. The point is if people want something they will get it. Legal or not drugs are available because people want them. Prohibition failed because people wanted alcohol. Banning guns will fail because
    people want to protect themselves and their families with equal force to the threat.

    • That one is next on the DEA hit-list. I know a few ex-addicts (all of them veterans) who kicked serious oxy/morphine habits (VA-sponsored) using kratom; but the .gov can’t allow a natural, safe, cheap plant to be cutting into big pharma’s profits.

      • I’ve heard that for the whole 6+ years I’ve know about it, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen out of the blue. There’s a ton of new research ongoing and quite a few people are getting out in front of the insanity, just the small amount they do know is very interesting.

  15. $3-5 a hit for instant and near death insanity? This just might be what this country needs to rid itself from this type of crowd.

  16. Hmmm…Back in the 1970’s me and my idiot “friends” started smoking PCP laced mint cigarettes. We thought it was odd tasting pot-we were SO wrong. Sorry but this shite sounds similar-try it once and die. I’m glad I didn’t die( or go to prison) but I could have. And that crap was foisted on us by a “regular” dealer buddy…I can’t believe some of the stupid I once did. What goes around comes around…yeah carry a gun.

  17. Khat itself is classified as a low dependence/low harm drug. Not that any of that matters, but I’m guessing this is the new front on the war on drugs.

  18. Sometimes, in my darker hours, I consider the benefits of offering unlimited free drugs from government shops. Certain problems may solve themselves….
    I kid, but all I can say is that I am sick of drug users, whether illegal or prescription. They are a constant pain in the butt at my job. I don’t believe that criminal penalties for drug use are particularly useful, but I think everyone who uses is dumber than a sack of bricks. Funny thing is though, I’ve never seen anything worse than alcohol withdraw. At the bad end of it you have to lock them in cloth cages. Whatever. I sure can’t wait for something like this to come my way….

  19. The Progressive Prohibitionists of the Temperance Movement brought us many of the ills we currently face. They wanted to achieve social ends that have a degree of merit but use the force of law, government, and the barrel of the gun to stop what they believe were moral and social ills.:

    Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914

    National Prohibition Act 1919

    National Firearms Act 1934

    They all came in quick succession from the same faulty ideology. In addition to a butt-load of local and state laws against tobacco, prostitution, pornography, and gambling. Their deadly naivete thought that virtuous behavior was as simple as passing laws against bad behavior. Unfortunately there are just as many today that are intent on sending the manufacturing and distribution of gadgets and substances further into the black market.

  20. well, with a heart rate and a blood pressure that high, they should bleed out faster if you have to shoot them.

  21. After reading this article, I suddenly see the need for a large capacity 10MM pistol for home defense, and with a suppressor so that one does not permanently lose their hearing firing it.

  22. This is not a new drug. It was popular (and widely reported) in the Northern Midwest 15-20 years ago. And It has been popular in Eastern Europe and Russia for decades. It’s easily made from cough syrup, and apparently more fun than MDMA (which it is most closely related to).
    I was surprised it didn’t spread to other areas back then. But if the Chinese are selling it for $5 a pop, I expect it won’t be long before it’s available everywhere.
    As a side note. I am not in favor of recreational drugs, or laws related to them. Let natural selection handle the drug problem, and let the government focus on the few things it should actually do.

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