The term ‘zombie drug’ is not one which strikes much familiarity with most people. In fact, even Google has very little to offer in terms of answers and the ones you do find online may be very conflicting. However, this so-called ‘zombie drug’ refers to an extremely potent and dangerous drug.
What is the Zombie Drug?
The internet has some conflicting views of what zombie drug refers to. So in order to clear the water, here is what we found:
Zombie drug refers to two different things; Desomorphine, a much more potent version of the opioid morphine or alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone.
Desomorphine is eight to ten times more potent than regular morphine. It was used in the 1980’s to treat severe pain. However over time it was phased out due to the negative side effects such as severe respiratory depression and urinary retention, outweighing any of the potential benefits it had. Its illicit production, commonly referred to as ‘krokodil’ is where it got its ‘zombie drug’ moniker from. The impurities found in krokodil often contained deadly substances such as battery acid and gasoline. They often rot the skin around the injection point, thus making it known as the zombie drug.
However, when referring to the zombie drug, it is more commonly associated with alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, also known as a-PVP or ‘Flakka.’ a-PVP is a synthetic stimulant of cathinone, a drug similar to other amphetamines such as methamphetamine, and can be synthesized into what is commonly known as ‘bath salts.’
What is Flakka?
Flakka is the street name for a-PVP and has some dangerous and frightening effects when consumed. It is one of the many ingredients in bath salts and given its close association with amphetamines, it has many of the same effects. There is very little research around its effects, toxicology or physiological impacts adding to its danger.
When examining case studies or examples of expected behavior, you will encounter some very strange stories. According to Don Maines, a drug treatment counsellor, Flakka “[rewires] the brain chemistry” and those who take it “have no control over their thoughts.” The drug is oddly connected with cannibalistic rages where individuals would run around with no apparent control over their actions, chewing the faces off of random bystanders. Even the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) considers the drug as “meth on steroids” and has it categorized as a Schedule I drug.
The drug is very cheap and usually manufactured and shipped from regions in China, however there have been cases of homemade flakka entering the market in the U.S. The drug’s popularity is rising as it is very cheap and it has similar effects to meth when taken at the appropriate dose. Now, taking flakka does not turn you into a cannibal, even though there have been isolated cases where aggressive cannibalistic behavior has been reported. It does, however, cause very erratic behavior and is very addictive.
What are the effects of Flakka?
Aside from the slight chance you will have cannibalistic tendencies, flakka has similar effects to other amphetamines such as methamphetamine. Some effects of flakka include:
- Delusional behavior
- Bizarre behavior
- Elevation in heart rate (it is a central nervous system stimulant, just like meth which can help explain the erratic behavior associated with its use)
- Extreme agitation
- Jerky muscle movements
Flakka can cause overdoses and even death. Even if an individual does not take a lethal dose of flakka, the subsequent behavioral changes can cause them to do things they would not normally do or engage in extremely dangerous behavior.
Given that there is a lack of scientific evidence of the effects of flakka, it may help to look at amphetamines or even bath salts to provide an insight into the dangers of the zombie drug.
What are amphetamines?
An amphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant which causes an increase in brain and nerve activity. When taken at the right dose, it can cause powerful feelings of euphoria. People commonly abuse amphetamines drugs and this includes adderall and methamphetamine. The effects of amphetamines includes:
- Paranoia and anxiety
- Visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations
- Increased heart rate
- Mood swings
- Low appetite
- Depression and fatigue
- Sleep depression
- High body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
- Involuntary muscle control
The effects one will experience while taking amphetamines can have very similar effects to taking flakkas. However, there still needs to be more research done on the effects it has on the body- one point of consensus is that flakkas is a highly addictive, very dangerous drug.
Given the dangerous nature of flakka, it can be hard to understand why anyone would choose to use the drug. Unfortunately, flakkas are one of the cheapest highs available, with the average ‘hit’ cost at $3-$5, whereas a gram of cocaine is often $80 or more. The duration of the high also lasts longer than most drugs lasting around 5 hours. There are currently no medications to treat flakka addiction, however, mental health approaches are helpful to reduce dependency. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.