RIP Flakka: South Florida Claims Victory in War Against Not-Very-Fun Synthetic Drug

Flakka had a good run, if by "good run" you mean a terrifying spree of violent behavior.

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Complex Original

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A flakka drought has descended upon the good state of Florida, which is presumably horrendous news for anyone hoping to make it into headlines with a distinctly Floridian flakka freakout. After reaching troublingly high levels of usage in 2014 and 2015, the Washington Postreports that the not-very-fun drug has practically disappeared from South Florida altogether.

"First thing we had to do was figure out how to spell it," Jim Hall, Nova Southeaster University epidemiologist, admits. Also known by its chemical name alpha-PVP, flakka was reported as being "stronger" than typical bath salts or K2. In fact, flakka was so undeniably skilled at attaching itself to pathways in the brain that users often experienced wildly violent behavior. That behavior, experts argue, put a strain on community police departments and emergency services.

"We were in an emergency scenario," Hall tells the Post, noting that flakka's habit of causing psychosis in users was its most troubling aspect. However, though the peak days of flakka mania had the entire nation shook, the 2016 reality currently facing the drug may mean that Americans should start prepping to give flakka the permanent goodbye:

What happened in Florida, experts say, was the result of unprecedented coordination among local groups to fight flakka’s demand and — most importantly — the unusual willingness of the Chinese government to halt flakka’s production. Florida officials early on blamed overseas labs for supplying the drug flooding American shores. The result was a rare reprieve in the fight against synthetic drugs.

"There's a drought on," Heather Davidson, a prevention specialist with United Way, says of the diminishing status of flakka fever. "There's no more flakka." With Broward County going from 306 flakka cases in October of last year to just 54 in December, the numbers are clearly in that statement's favor. In fact, the last recorded death related to flakka took place back in December. That drop in cases, experts say, is likely tied to China's decision in October to ban flakka and other synthetic drugs after being pressured by Broward County's Flakka Action Team.

RIP flakka. You shan't really be missed at all.

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