DENVER — Growing concerns over a new designer drug linked to a number of bizarre street crimes.
The drug is called “flakka”, and experts say its side effects can be even stronger than meth and bath salts, causing people to act erratically, uncontrollably and dangerously.
Florida has seen more than 600 cases in the past year.
Some of the episodes, caught on video.
Caught on surveillance video outside the Fort Lauderdale police department two weeks ago, a man trying to scale a security gate fell onto one of the 14-inch spikes lining the top.
The man hung impaled for more than 20 minutes before being cut free and rushed to the hospital.
Police say he told officers he was high on the drug “flakka” and running for help.
“You don`t know what you`re getting when you [get] synthetic drugs. These are made by chemists, often overseas and they are just trying to make money,” said University of Colorado Hospital toxicologist Andrew Monte.
“Specifically they can cause psychosis just like what you just described,” he said.
And just like the case where a man believed he was being chased by people trying to murder him and was caught on cell phone video running naked through Florida traffic. The man told police he was high on “flakka”.
And in yet another case, a man, admittedly on “flakka”, was caught trying to break down the door to a Florida police station. He pulled, he kicked and, when the doors wouldn’t open, he threw a large rock not once but twice to crack the hurricane-proof glass.
“They will cause hallucinations, they can cause the body temperature to go up, they can cause seizures and cardiac arrhythmias,” Monte said of synthetic drugs like flakka.
While the drug has yet to be seen in metro Denver, Monte says it’s a constant worry and it could only be a matter of time.
“The problem is you never know what you’re going to get so even a small amount can result in death,” he said. Adding, “We get worried about any new drugs of abuse on the streets.”
Flakka is often laced with heroin, cocaine, meth and the chemical Alpha-PVP.
Experts say the video shows just how dangerous it is and doctors like Monte warn it can result in death.