Medically Reviewed

What is the Flakka Drug?

- 4 sections

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Flakka is the street name for a designer drug that is referred to as alpha-PVP. This substance is usually found in crystal form and white or pink in color. People who abuse flakka might snort, smoke, inject, or even vaporize the substance.

In 2019, a new study showed that 1% of teenagers had abused flakka in the past year. Out of those teenagers, nearly 20% of them had abused the drug over 40 times.[1]

This substance is incredibly dangerous, often causing people to behave violently. Even further, flakka abuse poses a serious threat of experiencing a life-threatening overdose.

The Effects of Flakka

When flakka started to hit the streets a few years ago, there were numerous news stories about people behaving erratically, delusionally, and even aggressively. The drug became notorious due to the number of people who experienced significant paranoia and aggressive behavior after using the drug across the state of Florida.

The common effects of flakka include:

  • Bizarre behavior
  • Agitation and aggression
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Paranoia and panic
  • Delusions
  • Raised blood pressure and heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

In one news article, a woman explains her experience with flakka, stating “I remember having seizures and having just continued paranoia and feeling like people were chasing me and following me and talking about me.”[2] The article goes on to explain that 60 people died from using the drug in Broward County in just one year.

Is There a Difference Between Flakka and Bath Salts?

While some people believe that flakka is a mixture of heroin, crack, and methamphetamine, this is a misconception. Flakka is an analog of bath salts, a group of synthetic drugs that are also known to cause violent and aggressive behavior.

Bath salts are created in drug labs and derived from a chemical compound known as synthetic cathinone. While bath salts were being sold in gas stations and smoke shops and marked “not for human consumption,” they were banned after thousands of people started abusing them. According to the DEA, bath salts can cause an array of adverse side effects including rapid heartbeat, seizures, paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations.[3]

Flakka can be described as the cousin of bath salts. While there are some chemical differences, the effects tend to be incredibly similar. If you or a loved one abuse flakka or another type of bath salt, you should always seek help from a professional drug rehab facility.

What are the Dangers of Flakka Abuse?

Flakka abuse can cause out-of-character behavior, such as aggression, self-harming actions, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. As a result, even using the drug just one time can put you and the people around you at risk of bodily harm. However, continuously abusing it poses even more dangers.

The long-term dangers of flakka abuse include:

  • Addiction
  • Substance-induced psychosis
  • Fatal overdoses
  • Organ damage or failure
  • Seizures
  • Overdose
  • Death

One of the main risks of abusing flakka is substance-induced psychosis.[4] While you can develop this condition after only abusing the drug one time, repetitive use increases your risk substantially. The symptoms of substance-induced psychosis include a detachment from reality, delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations.

In addition to psychosis, overdose can occur. Flakka is not developed using any FDA regulations, which means there is no way to tell how potent the drug is.

Symptoms of a flakka overdose may include:[5]

  • Dangerously high body temperature
  • Outbursts of violence
  • Behaving erratically
  • Hallucinations
  • Organ failure
  • Internal bleeding

If you or a loved one have become addicted to flakka, you should seek assistance from a drug rehab program. Addiction to flakka can be incredibly dangerous, putting you at risk of life-threatening health emergencies and long-term damage to your organs.

Find Help for Flakka Abuse Addiction

Flakka is an incredibly dangerous synthetic drug that can lead to aggression, violence, self-injury, psychosis, and even death. If you are addicted to it, you must seek professional help as soon as possible.

At PAX Memphis, we can connect you with a highly-rated addiction treatment program that will provide you with all of the tools and support you need to regain control over your life. To learn more about how to find flakka addiction treatment, contact us today.


  1. CNN Health: One percent of US teenagers are using flakka – but it could be more, Retrieved June 2023 From
  2. NBC News: ‘Devil’s Drug’: Flakka Is Driving Florida Insane, Retrieved June 2023 From
  3. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Bath Salts, Retrieved June 2023 From
  4. The National Library of Medicine: Flakka-Induced Prolonged Psychosis, Retrieved June 2023 From
  5. The National Library of Medicine: Flakka: New Dangerous Synthetic Cathinone on the Drug Scene, Retrieved June 2023 From