Everyone has heard or read about different drugs that can turn change people so profoundly that they resemble zombies, not humans. In this state, they may do things completely out of character.
Not that long ago, there were a series of violent crimes in South Florida that had the people of that area believing that there were zombies. Some people believed that a drug known as flakka or gravel caused these people to experience symptoms of paranoia or psychotic breaks.
Law enforcement officers in Florida battled the use of these synthetic drugs but people were still finding ways to produce and consume them. News outlets begin calling gravel or flakka the zombie drug because they believed that it was causing humans to turn on each other and even practice cannibalism. We are still unsure of all the effects of flakka, while some people believe that the drug has the frightening potential to give someone the idea to feast on other humans.
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Flakka: What Is the Zombie Drug?
Although flakka or gravel was first synthesized around the 1960s, it was not well-known at that time. The zombie drug mimics the effects that someone who uses crystal meth or cocaine might experience, which means that it is a designer drug.
A designer drug mimics the effects of an already existing drug, hence the similarity of flakka to cocaine and crystal meth. The drug is made and sold more cheaply but produces many of the same effects. The drug costs less for those who are producing or searching for it.
Black market labs often make new, slightly different drugs once a substance is outlawed and manufacturers can no longer easily obtain ingredients. They aim to produce the same effects that people desire for lower manufacturing costs.
But, using substances such as flakka may produce different kinds of costs–costs to one’s health. The symptoms of flakka may include:
- Rapid heart rate and palpitations
- Increase in blood pressure
- Aggressive behavior
These are just a few of the effects that people may experience if they try this zombie drug. While these effects occur mainly if someone is getting high, coming down from the drug may produce opposite effects. People may struggle with depression and fatigue.
After trying the drug, it may be difficult to avoid becoming addicted to it. In fact, most people continue to use the drug to avoid the feelings they experience when the effects of the drugs fade. Continued use of the drug may cause tolerance, which in turn can be harmful and can even cause a fatality.
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What Is Flakka’s Reputation?
Often times flakka and gravel are referred to as bath salts because of the similarities between the two drugs. Bath salts are also synthetic designer drugs that are often sold as mundane items, such as plant food or bath salts. They are also usually sold with markings that state that the drug is not for human consumption.
Bath salts and flakka both occupy a legal grey area because both have new versions that are not technically banned yet are sold for recreational use. Flakka/gravel began to show up in different crime scenes and investigations and was deemed the new bath salt, despite having been around for over fifty years.
Some startling instances gave flakka its zombie drug nickname. The instances left people shocked and scared. In 2012, a naked man was found trying to eat the face of another man in Miami, Florida. After the attacker resisted arrest, a police officer shot him. Even after being shot, the attacker continued to attempt to eat the man’s face, prompting the officer to shoot him until he died. The victim survived after losing an eye and eighty percent of his facial tissue.
The media attributed a similar attack to flakka use. This attack occurred in 2016 when a Florida State University student killed a married couple. He began to eat the man’s face before the police arrived at the crime scene. It took police officers, dogs, and tasers to subdue the murderer. While the media put the blame on flakka, the toxicology report only found marijuana and an unidentified pill in the man’s system. Some law enforcement officials claimed that a new street drug caused the attack, but it was confirmed that the attacker was suffering from a psychotic break.
Effects: What Happens When You Use Flakka or Gravel?
Since this synthetic drug is still fairly new, there is not much extensive research on flakka/gravel. This means that we do not know the long-term effects and risks of using the zombie drug. The small amount of research on the drug claims that it may cause kidney problems and renal failure if used for an extensive amount of time.
To most people, the popularity of this drug is almost shocking since no one is sure about the long-term effects it may have on our bodies. We are especially unsure what type of long-term effects it may have on the brain, one of the most important organs.
People who have used flakka have killed themselves accidentally or intentionally. Some users have said that using the drug raised their body temperatures, which may explain why some users feel compelled to take off their clothes. The synthetic drug may also produce paranoia, so some users may run away if people approach them because they think they are being threatened.
In some instances, flakka users have run into heavy traffic and placed themselves in other dangerous situations to avoid being caught. While we have been able to figure out how some people may act while using this drug, it is still uncertain what other effects may occur.
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Does Flakka or Gravel Really Make You a Zombie?
Despite news attention to horrendous effects, there is no actual evidence that using flakka makes you violent. There is no evidence of violent behavior directly caused by flakka. Such violence could be caused by a mixture of other things, which is what apparently happened in many different cases. If someone is already known to behave aggressively, it is possible that using the zombie drug may cause him or her to act even more violently.
Drugs such as flakka do not have regular ingredients that cause regular reactions. This can make them unpredictable and hazardous, which is why they should be avoided at all costs. It is hard to tell if the difference among many different drugs. Instead of facing one outcome, you may face a problematic situation. While these drugs do not technically turn you into a zombie, they can cause you to act out of character and experience a wide range of effects that are life-threatening.
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