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Flakka has made its way to South Africa

As if there are not enough drugs on our streets already, we are now facing a new addition to this toxic family called Flakka.

Flakka has been dubbed the “zombie drug” and rightly so. Although it does not turn its user into an actual zombie, their behaviour can be likened to that of nightmarish Zombie-themed Hollywood films.

Flakka - Substance Abuse South Africa

There have been three alleged cases of Flakka use in South Africa which resulted in hospitalisation in all three cases.

Two men were attending the same party when they took Flakka and it quickly turned into a horror story.

One man attacked a woman and allegedly bit off a piece of her flesh, while the other man’s heart stopped momentarily but started beating again soon after that.

The alleged third case was completely separate. A young man overdosed on the drug and this caused his heart rate to sky rocket. After being hospitalised he spent hours hitting his head on the hospital bed-frame enduring what appeared to be frightening hallucinations.

What is Flakka?

The synthetic chemical called Alpha PVP is an amphetamine-type drug which is similar to Cathinone, the stimulant compound found in the Khat plant.

The Khat plant has been used recreationally in some countries as a mood enhancer but is also said to decrease the desire for food and increase aggressive behaviour.

What does it look like and how is it taken?

It is mainly found in a pink or white granule form which is why many compare it to the other street drug called Bath Salts which is also Cathinone based and equally dangerous.

Flakka can be smoked, swallowed, injected or snorted.

What happens when you take Flakka?

Flakka mimics the effects of drugs like cocaine, crystal meth and crack cocaine yet it seems the effects are significantly worse. Furthermore, it can take up to 5 days to leave the body completely.

Because of how Flakka works, it floods the brain with dopamine and serotonin which are commonly known as the “happy hormones”. This causes extreme euphoria and gives its user that “high” feeling.

Users become completely detached from reality, aggressive, unresponsive and are rendered unable to speak. The combination of these effects usually makes the user jeopardise their own safety as well as the safety of the people around them.

Side effects


  • Extreme increase in body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Heightened state of awareness with little cognitive response
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Frightening hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Demonic behaviour
  • Severe increase in heart rate


Long term effects

There have not been many sufficient studies done on Flakka and its long-term effects are not well established. However, there are definite signs of renal failure and cardiovascular problems for those who have used it.

Flakka is no joke at all and the fact that it has made its way onto our beloved streets is a cause for great concern. It is imperative to understand the devastating effects of this drug and to avoid using it at all costs.

Step Away - Rehab South Africa

It is not encouraged to try any drugs, especially those that are new and unfamiliar. These drugs are usually research or experimental drugs that do not undergo any ethical testing before finding their way onto the streets and into the hands of their users.

These drugs are appealing to those who are prone to substance abuse and can cause further drug addiction as well as many other devastating effects.

If you or anyone you know needs help in treating addiction, Step Away is a drug rehab centre in South Africa that is fully equipped and qualified to provide assistance in this regard.

For more information about our rehabilitation centre, please contact us.

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