If you're the parent of a teen, there's a new drug in town that makes other bath salts look like Christmas morning. Flakka, a designer drug that causes "excited delirium" was found first on the streets of South Florida, but it's recently been reported in Texas and Ohio as well. Flakka use causes hallucinations, violent behavior and even death if left unattended. Here's what you should know about this drug that has parents in at least three states terrified:
What is Flakka
Nicknamed "The Insanity Drug," Flakka causes extremes of bizarre behavior in those who use it. Because of its cheap price tag and easy availability, Flakka is outselling other designer drugs, including Molly and Ecstasy. It has the ability to raise the body temperature of the person taking it, and for this reason, Flakka has resulted in reports of people tearing off all their clothing in an effort to cool down.
Flakka comes in crystalline form and contains the synthetic stimulant Alpha-PVP -- an ingredient banned by the U.S Drug Enforcement Agency in 2014 as exhibiting a high probability of abuse. It can be snorted, injected, vaped or swallowed to obtain the desired effects.
Dangers of Flakka
The biggest threats from Flakka usage involve engaging in risky behavior while under its hallucinogenic influence and succumbing to organ failure from extremes of body temperature. People under the influence of this drug have been known to unintentionally run out into traffic, accidentally impale themselves, battle with police, and step off of high places. Others have died from liver or kidney failure when their organs shut down from a too-high body temperature.
How to Know If Your Teen is Taking Flakka
Mild symptoms of Flakka usage include feelings of euphoria, increased movement, insomnia, and hyper-alertness. Advanced symptoms can include agitation, extreme paranoia, sweating, hallucinations, and violent behavior. Someone who is using Flakka may also go through periods of depression and lethargy as the drug wears off between doses.
If you recognize these symptoms in your teen, seek medical attention immediately and discover more on the available options. It's possible they may be suffering from a chemical dependency on this drug, which could require treatment in a licensed drug addiction treatment facility.
How to Protect Your Teen From Flakka
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are definitive steps you can take to help keep your teens from trying Flakka or any other illegal or prescription drug. They include keeping the lines of communication open, being involved in your child's life and interests, and knowing where they are and who they're with at all times. You can also help prevent drug abuse among children and teens by setting a good example and keeping a drug-free home yourself.
Battling This Chronic Disease
But despite your best efforts as a parent, drug abuse among children and teens is still a national problem. It can strike any family at any time. Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes changes to take place in the brain that make stopping nearly impossible without medical intervention. Those changes can begin happening with the very first dose, and if your child also has the following associated environmental and genetic risk factors, he or she is naturally more vulnerable:
The most important thing to remember is that if you suspect your child has a problem with Flakka or any other drug, sit them down for a loving heart-to-heart. If your suspicions are confirmed, don't resort to blame and negativity. Instead admit them to a reputable drug addiction treatment center in your area where they can get comprehensive help for their chemical dependency.
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