Flakka spilling out of a glass bottle

What Is Flakka?

Things may feel out of control if your loved one struggles with drug abuse. Addiction is a disease, and when someone you care about is in its grips, it can impact all areas of life. Drug addiction wreaks havoc on school responsibilities, work performance, relationships, and physical health. Sadly, the range of dangerous products on the street only continues to increase. One particularly concerning stimulant in the news over the past decade is flakka. 

If your loved one could benefit from a drug detox program in Wrightsville, PA, for this or another dangerous substance, call Recovery Ranch PA today at 717.969.9126. Our caring team is standing by to answer your questions or help with intake. 

What Is Flakka?

Alpha-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone (alpha-PVP), popularly known as flakka, is a street drug similar to its predecessor, “bath salts,” which comes in crystalline form and is usually pink or white. Flakka may also be called “gravel” or “the zombie drug.” It can be snorted, eaten, injected, or smoked from an e-cigarette. A powerful and unregulated stimulant, this drug falls in the class of synthetic cathinone. These drugs are human-made substances chemically similar to stimulants found naturally in the khat plant.

Flakka may be marketed as a cheap alternative to other stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines. Some people who’ve used flakka were also exposed to it, knowingly or unknowingly, through “molly”—also known as  “ecstasy.” It is, in theory, pure 3,4-Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA) or an empathogen-entactogen. In practice, however, this popular party drug, known for producing intense feelings of pleasure, may be laced with other drugs, such as flakka. 

Flakka has several dangerous effects on the human body and mind, including: 

  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria
  • Brain swelling
  • Extreme, unreasonable distrust or paranoia 
  • Heightened sex drive or hyper-friendliness
  • Panic or panic attacks
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Death due to overdose

People who take flakka may also exhibit jerky or contorted movement, which is the origin of the street name “zombie drug.” They may also experience excited delirium, manifesting as agitation and violent behavior and leading to dehydration, muscle breakdown, or kidney failure.

What Happens in a Drug Detox Program? 

If someone you care about is using flakka, it’s essential to seek help immediately. While the prevalence of this drug dropped sharply after heavy media attention several years ago, it’s still important to keep an eye out for it. Moreover, illegal drug makers often make minor product adjustments to avoid detection and legislation after authorities crack down on a substance. For this reason, it’s essential to remain vigilant toward flakka, bath salts, and newer designer street drugs like “mojo” with similar compositions, effects, and risks. 

In a qualified treatment program like Recovery Ranch PA’s, your loved one can first benefit from medical detox. This care component supervises them while they undergo withdrawal symptoms and significantly raises their odds of safely and successfully coming through this challenging but essential process.

While no medications are specifically designed to treat synthetic cathinone addiction, broader interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be highly effective. This style of one-on-one counseling gives patients the tools to identify and reframe negative self-beliefs and develop coping skills for dealing with their triggers to use drugs. Other therapy techniques, such as motivational incentives (MI), can also treat this form of addiction well. Here, patients are given rewards for remaining substance free for extended periods.

In treatment, therapists will also work to identify any co-occurring disorders your loved one may have besides substance use. Often, an underlying problem like a personality disorder or major depression can trigger a person to abuse drugs in the first place. Treating the mental health concern can often provide significant relief and build a sound foundation for lasting sobriety. 

Find Substance Abuse Treatment in Pennsylvania at Recovery Ranch PA

Don’t wait another minute to get the help your family deserves. Recovering from an addiction to designer drugs like flakka can be difficult but a challenge worth overcoming. Contact Recovery Ranch PA today at 717.969.9126 or reach out online to start the conversation. 

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