The United States has long been dealing with a variety of issues related to a variety of drugs, and Florida is no exception. We have previously discussed the Sunshine State’s heroin epidemic, and many Floridians may be aware of the spread of marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal substances within our borders. However, sometimes the drugs that appear in alarming news stories from our state can be somewhat more colorful than others. Here is some information about one such drug, “gravel,” also commonly known as flakka.
What is the Drug “Gravel”?
“Gravel” is one of the street names for alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, a name that is itself often shortened to alpha-PVP or α-PVP. It is a synthetic drug created in laboratories, with a chemical composition that – when smoked, injected, snorted, or swallowed – create an imbalance of certain chemicals in users’ brains that makes them feel high.
If any of the names for this drug seem familiar to you, it may be because particularly in 2015, accounts of people committing bizarre acts while high on flakka have drawn attention from the media. People have been reported running naked through streets to escape imagined packs of dogs, engaging in sexual acts with trees, and trying to break into the police department of Fort Lauderdale. Flakka and its side effects were on the nation’s mind, at least for a time.
Even though news stories of gravel seemed to reach a fever pitch in 2015, this does not mean that the drug itself was just a fad that quickly passed. As recently as July 2 – when one user repeatedly sprinted across intersections to hide under trees and another man who had taken “flakka-laced cocaine” attacked hospital staff – the erratic behavior of gravel users still warrants attention from journalists, civilians, and especially the police.
What Makes It So Dangerous?
Moreover, it is still a substance that threatens lives throughout the state of Florida. In a 2015 Associated Press article, Don Maines, a drug treatment counselor who works for the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Ft. Lauderdale, is quoted as saying, “Flakka is a dangerous, dangerous drug that actually starts to rewire the brain chemistry. [Users] have no control over their thoughts. They can’t control their actions.”
More precisely, its side effects include what the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls “excited delirium,” which entails “hyperstimulation, paranoia, and hallucinations that can lead to violent aggression and self-injury.” The misadventures mentioned above may seem absurd, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse links the drug with suicide deaths and heart attacks.
Worse, it is made more dangerous still by the cunning of its manufacturers. Maines told the Associated Press that flakka producers and distributors sometimes lace other drugs with it. People who are otherwise accustomed to drugs that are not as “hard” may suddenly find themselves experiencing side effects for which they are not prepared, and the full health effects of these combinations remain unknown. Gravel manufacturers even make testing for the substance difficult by slightly altering the chemistry used to produce the drug, which may also have dangerous side effects.
If you or a loved one get tangled in anything related to flakka or any other controlled substances, you will want to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced South Florida drug crime attorneys at Michael A. Gottlieb P.A. Broward Criminal Lawyers can provide counsel derived from years of successfully defending clients with situations similar to yours. For a free consultation with no obligations, call us today at <a href=“tel:9544621005”>(954) 462-1005</a>.