Zombie drug scare is dismissed
FLAKKA, commonly known as the “Zombie” drug, has had social media in a worried frenzy as unfounded claims of victims continue to spread fear.
Last week, there were claims that flakka was being distributed in the Western Cape and that eight children were admitted to Rondebosch Medical Centre for eating sweets laced with the drug.
Lynn Moonsamy, Rondebosch Medical Centre spokeswoman, said the claims were unfounded.
“We are aware Whatsapp message. hoax.”
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk, said: “We have no record of any seizure or arrest as yet in the Western Cape.”
Dr Henk Temmingh, of UCT’s psychiatric department, said flakka was one of several synthetic cathinone and amphetamine-like stimulant drugs.
“Worldwide, not much is known about how commonly it is used as very few cases of ‘flakka use’ are verified by reliable drug testing. Some ecstasy users have tested positive for flakka, often unaware that they had ingested it together with ecstasy, without experiencing any unexpected effects.
“Like methamphetamine (tik) and cocaine it leads to a release of dopamine and noradrenaline.”
Temmingh said although flakka can be contained in capsules if crushed, it is generally distributed in white or pink crystals.
“Among habitual drug users, it has been reported to be used in repetitive binges over short durations of time, which may be associated with sleep deprivation and what has been described as an excited delirium, meaning a mental state of the It is a characterised by altered levels of consciousness and awareness – drowsiness alternating with heightened arousal – as well as visual hallucinations, often of intruders, subsequent intense anxiety and aggressive reactions. Disorganised speech and behaviour is also common during intoxication.”
The “Zombie” reference to the drug, he explained, came about after two cases were reported in Florida in the US, of two men being involved in gruesome murders while under the influence of flakka.
However, he said the men tested negative for the drug.
Some of the physical effects, he said, include abnormal heart rates, high blood pressures, raised temperatures, appetite suppression, sweating, muscle spasms and teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
Provincial health spokesperson Mark van der Heever said they were not aware of any cases involving the drug.
“I have not seen any patients who have reported using this drug in the Cape Town area.”
There have been claims on social media that these sweets as well as some others are laced with the flakka drug.