Is Synthetic Drug “Flakka” Causing Bizarre Crimes in Florida?

A string of recent, shocking crimes that have taken place in Florida now have national media figures, local law enforcement agencies and criminal attorneys alike wondering whether the new synthetic drug called flakka is behind the bizarre wave of criminal incidents.
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As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, flakka (depicted in the photograph distributed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office to the right), which has been a nightmare for police officers after it hit the market in 2013, is readily available for $5 or less per vial.

With the evident psychological effects that flakka has on those who use the drug, it has become a clear danger to our society; at the same time, it has also shown yet another problem with the misguided war on drugs. Those who want to get high will continue to get high, and when they are sent running for the hills by archaic drug laws, they will come up with “creative” ways to make and use drugs; unfortunately, it is in this atmosphere that flakka thrives.

A recent article from the AP, available on CNBC, outlined just a few of the outrageous criminal incidents that have taken place in Florida and have been attributed to use of flakka. As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale drug crime defense lawyers know, the article recounts how one man ran naked through a Florida neighborhood before trying to have sex with a tree and telling police officers that he was a mythical god. Another man ran down a busy city street in the middle of the day, apparently convinced that a gorp of German shepherds was chasing after him. Two other people, on separate occasions, tried to break into the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. They both told officers that people were chasing them. One of the would-be trespassers would up impaled on a fence.

In Palm Beach, a SWAT team was required to retrieve a 33-year-old man from a rooftop in January. The man had fired a shot from on top of the roof, and he told officers he was being followed by a Haitian gang who had threatened his family. He also admitted to police officers that he had smoked flakka, that he couldn’t remember how he had gotten onto the roof, and that he was “delusional and hallucinating.”

WFLA, meanwhile, recounted how a Boynton Beach woman used Flakka, lost track of her infant daughter, and left the child in front of a building on Gulfstream Blvd, sitting alone about 25 feet from the street. In each of these cases, and many, many more, one common element has been identified: the use of flakka, the dangerous designer drug which is typically sold in crystal form and smoked using electronic cigarettes. (It can also be swallowed, snorted or injected.) As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale drug crime defense lawyers know, the drug is incredibly dangerous, in part because it is so popular with young people and gives off no odor.

According to the AP article, based on the evidence being seized by police all over Florida, use of flakka has spiked. At the laboratory of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, flakka crime lab testing submissions have grown from less than 200 last year to 275 in just the first three months of 2015.

According to Don Maines, a drug treatment counselor with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, flakka “Starts to rewire brain chemistry” and those who use it “have no control over their thoughts … they can’t control their actions.”

Our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale drug crime defense lawyers know that the war on drugs has caused more problems than it’s solved. While our justice system continues to arrest people and send them away for decades for using and distributing marijuana, for instance, it has created a desperate environment in which people are filling a void, and this time they are doing it with flakka, a drug immeasurably more dangerous than marijuana, which has never been known to, on its own, cause the erratic and dangerous behavior we are seeing with flakka use.

If you have any questions about this or any other drug crime or criminal defense issue, or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with any crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale drug crime defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.

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