Flakka: the new bath salts?
Stories of people running around naked on drugs always seems to excite the media. In 2011, it was “bath salts”. In 2015, it’s Flakka. To answer the question, “Is Flakka the new bath salts?” it is important to first understand what “bath salts” really are. “Bath salts” were products sold in convenience stores and head shops falsely labeled as soothing bath products, but were in fact synthetic stimulant research chemicals (or NPS’s, novel psychoactive substances). Typically these research chems were MDPV, Methylone, mephedrone and/or flakka (αlpha-PVP) or just a mix of other synthetic cathinones. These drugs were taken for their reported similarity to Cocaine and amphetamines.
“Bath salts” rose to the height of its fame when it was falsely reported in Florida that a man had taken some and turned into a blood-thirsty zombie, stripping naked and gnawing on a man’s face. Contrary to popular belief, investigators found no connection to bath salts in this incident but the Canadian government didn’t let facts get in the way of the War on Drugs. MDPV was made illegal in 2012.
But what about Flakka? Flakka is the street name for the synthetic stimulant actually known as αlpha-PVP (alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone). Like “bath salts”, αlpha-PVP is a synthetic cathinone. The mechanism of αlpha-PVP effects are unknown but likely similar to MDPV, and reportedly produces similar euphoric and awareness increasing effects.
Though the media has hyped αlpha-PVP as a “new” drug it’s been around since the 60s. As cheaper alternatives to classic stimulants (like MDPV, mephedrone and the like) have been made illegal, substances that were synthesized ages ago are being pulled out of the vault. The MDPV legislation does place α-pvp in schedule I, but there’s still less risk to producers (who are for the most part in China).
αlpha-PVP doesn’t show up on standard reagent tests, so be wary even if you get a result you were hoping for. Early reports have suggested that the standard dose of bath salts (120mg) is way too much when dropping Flakka – that might explain the people running around naked! If you’re going to use it, start with as little as 5mg. (You can always do more, but can’t do less.) Any chemical active at low doses such as this should only be measured out on a very accurate and high quality scale. Eyeballing doses is extremely difficult and reckless even if you know the total amount of powder you have.
α-pvp can be found in freebase and hydrochloride form. Those who choose to vaporize/smoke their α-pvp prefer the freebase form because it can be vaporized much more efficiently. Those who snort it will prefer the salt form because it is less harmful to the nasal membrane, and less painful. Vaporizing this chemical tends to be even more habit-forming than snorting it.
Early research has shown that there’s a feeling of needing to redose, which can lead to overdoing it, so monitor your usage carefully. When taking any stimulants, it’s important to take breaks from dancing/try to sleep, try to eat something light (like rice, some fruit or soup) and stay hydrated by sipping water!
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