Durban – “About 10 times more powerful than cocaine,” is how the director of Sanca Durban, has described new street drug “flakka”.
1. Walter Petersen on Wednesday told The Mercury that flakka – also known as “bath baths” or ‘gravel” – was a cathinone that was first synthesised decades ago. “Sometimes, drugs make a resurgence after several years and come back stronger than before,” he said. “That appears to be what’s happening with flakka”.
2. It is a powerful upper and its use could lead to paranoia and delirium.
3. It tends to be cheaper than cocaine and you can buy it online, which makes it more easily accessible.
4. The drug is associated with “mental disturbances” and this could make treatment more challenging.
5. Users will probably be subject to a dual diagnosis – of the addiction and the mental disturbance.
6. The Daily News reported that it was believed the drug was already being sold in Wentworth, Chatsworth and Pinetown.
7. A source revealed that in Chatsworth, three men had to be taken to hospital after taking it. It is alleged that one of the men attacked a woman, biting off a chunk of her arm. Another is reported to have suffered heart failure, with his heartbeat returning a short while later.
8. It is believed that an undercover agent then went to the house and made a purchase. A suspected dealer, 32-year-old Chikudipidia Steven Nwose, was arrested. He was allegedly found with 10 bags of flakka, 10 bags of ecstasy, a cellphone and R1 600 cash. He has since appeared in court and was remanded pending his next appearance.
9. Flakka is priced from R400 to R1 000.
10. It is a synthetic stimulant made from cathinone – an amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts. Cathinone has been banned and the drug-makers are using a similar substance called alpha-PVP instead.
11. Flakka can be taken in a tablet form or snorted when in powder form.
12. It is associated with many adverse side-effects such as heart palpitations, increased blood pressure and neurological manifestations like paranoia, psychosis, agitation and super-human strength. Long-term side effects are renal failure and depression.