High alert for ‘zombie’ drug

Owing to its crystaline appearance, flakka is often referred to as 'bath salts'

COUNSELLING agencies are preparing for the local arrival of reportedly the ‘worst ever’ recreational drug to reach Zululand.

Battling to cope with the effects and consequences of whoonga, crack cocaine and other life- and family-threatening concoctions, locals are now bracing themselves for ‘flakka’ – a new drug on the block that has reportedly wreaked havoc overseas and in other parts of the South Afirca.

Recently encountered in Durban, while no known local cases have been reported according to SANCA Zululand, the highly dangerous yet relatively cheap drug is expected to rear its ugly head soon.

Flakka comes as a white or pink crystal users either snort, eat, inject or vape.

A stimulant, flakka is a synthetic drug often referred to as ‘bath salts’ owing to its crystalline appearance.

Side-effects of the new street drug include changes in behaviour or mood and may also cause extreme agitation, jerking muscles, delirious thoughts and profound paranoia.

It is believed to increase body temperatures and blood pressure which can cause kidney damage, a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and even heart failure.

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Reports have been circulated indicating users might even resort to cannibalism in their ‘zombie-like’ drugged state, but these are said to have been an over-exaggeration to a single, unsubstantiated drug incident that went viral.

Nevertheless, as with all drugs, they are extremely dangerous.

‘Like any other harmful drugs, people must not even experiment with it because it can be dangerous to themselves and to people around them,’ says Shireen Sahadev, Director of SANCA Zululand.

‘We have to take the necessary steps to create awareness and educate our youth and community about the harmful effects of this new drug.’

Richards Bay SAPS spokesperson Captain Debbie Ferreira said no cases of this drug have been reported as yet but awareness is being circulated on different platforms.

‘These drugs contain a mixture of several different substances and it is only forensic tests which can accurately confirm the content of substances.

‘Users and families are severely affected by drug abuse and another new drug one will certainly add to the burden of substance abuse addiction experienced in this region.

‘With the infiltration of drugs there is also the ripple effect risk of increased crime,’ said Ferreira.

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  AUTHOR
Conelia Harry
Journalist

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