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Friday, June 12, 2015

Cocaine is No Longer the King of Florida

When most people think of Florida, sunshine and white sand beaches often come to mind; but when it comes to drug use, the first thought is usually cocaine. Historically, the state of Florida was the most logical place for cocaine trafficking boats to unload their cargo coming from the ports of South America. Many who are old enough to remember the 80’s are familiar with the cocaine epidemic that swept through the state; addiction rates soared and so did the murder rate. It seemed that cocaine would always be king in Florida.

Today, people who are looking to get high in Florida are less interested in cocaine - their sights are focused on synthetic drugs. In recent months Florida officials have been battling a synthetic drug craze sweeping through South Florida. All the latest cases involving the drug alpha-PVP, better known as “flakka” or “gravel,” a cheap and powerful drug being shipped in the mail from China, Reuters reports.

Flakka is quite similar to its cousin compound MDPV, commonly referred to as bath salts. Both alpha-PVP and MDPV cause unpredictable side effects, and the use of these types of synthetic drugs have resulted in fatalities in a number of states. Until last year no one had even heard of flakka, but by early May of this year Florida officials had recorded more than 275 incidents, according to the article. A few other major cities across the country have had limited incidents of flakka use, but nothing compared to what's happening in South Florida.

“Cocaine was king, until this year,” said Detective William Schwartz, a narcotics officer with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Broward County alone recorded 190 incidents involving the alpha-PVP last year. Flakka can be purchased for $5 a vial and is reported to be highly addictive.

Symptoms of flakka use can include:
  • Bizarre Behavior
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions of Superhuman Strength

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