TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) – The synthetic drug alpha-PVP – or Flakka – is sometimes called a "zombie" or "cannibal" drug, and about 1% of high school students in the States United have experienced it. according to a new study.
"Flakka is famous for being tied to bizarre behaviors, which has led the media to refer to him as the drug" zombie "or" cannibal, "said the study's lead author, Joseph Palamar. "Flakka has not turned users into cannibals, but the drug may indeed be very dangerous."
Palamar is an associate professor of population health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
In Florida alone, Flakka has been linked to at least 80 deaths between September 2014 and December 2015, the researchers said.
Flakka imitates cocaine and is as potent as methamphetamine. It can be eaten, sucked, injected or vaporized. Its side effects include tachycardia, high body temperature, anxiety, seizures, agitation, aggression, hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.
Chronic use of flakka has led to death from heart attacks, accidents, suicides and homicides, Palamar said.
To assess how widespread the use of Flakka is, the Palamar team analyzed data from a 2016-2017 survey of about 4,000 high school seniors in the United States.
Almost 1 percent of respondents said they used Flakka last year. People who were more likely to use the drug or did not live with their parents or parents had less than high school.
Adolescents who used Flakka were also more likely to use other drugs, including: Spice / K2 (86%); ketamine (72 percent); and marijuana (59 percent). About half of those interviewed who used Flakka said they also used four to 12 other drugs, the researchers found.
The Palamar team said that the use of Flakka and other "bath salts" can be underestimated because they are often added to a drug known as Ecstasy or Molly.
"The use of Flakka rarely occurs in isolation, since most users also use other drugs," said Palamer. "This suggests that the use of Flakka or other bath salts is by itself rare and the use of multiple substances may aggravate the adverse effects of these drugs."
The report was published online January 29 in the journal Drug Dependence and Alcohol.
For more information on teen drug use, visit the US National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens.
SOURCE: New York University, press release, January 29, 2019