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Defending Synthetic Drug Charges in Florida

Florida residents are reportedly dealing with an outbreak of odd crimes. From sexual relations with a tree to reports of imaginary mobs, police agencies are desperate for explanations regarding these bizarre incidents. A CBS News affiliate is reporting that a new type of synthetic drug may be to blame.

“Flakka” is described as a designer drug that can be smoked, injected or swallowed. It is reportedly similar to Ecstasy, but cheaper to manufacture and purchase. Hitting the drug scene in 2013, the drug is reportedly nicknamed “gravel” or “temporary insanity” on the streets. It only costs $5 per vial, according to reports, which may explain its quick rise in popularity. Positive flakka tests within the state rose from 38 in 2013 to more than 275 within the first quarter of 2015.

What’s in Flakka?

The predominant chemical in flakka is alpha-PVP, a synthetic version of an amphetamine-like stimulant derived from the khat plant. It is alarmingly similar to the chemicals found in bath salts, which placed Florida in national headlines after a user allegedly chewed off parts of a man’s face. Its effects are significant and reportedly similar to that of meth and cocaine.

In the CBS News article, epidemiologist Jim Hall explains that the drug floods the brain with a hormone called dopamine. “Normally when dopamine would be released, even naturally or even with other drugs, it then gets reuptaked — it goes back to its original transmitting neuron. But in this case, its reuptake is blocked so it remains there.” This high level of dopamine creates an intense feeling of euphoria, but these feelings can quickly turn to extreme paranoia and violence. The user’s body temperature can rise to 105 degrees, causing them to strip naked. Unfortunately, the drug creates a rush of adrenaline that increases the user’s strength, making a difficult situation for law enforcement. According to some reports, several incidents have required four or five officers in order to restrain the user.

The Florida Law

Though this drug is synthetic, it is still against the law to possess, manufacture or sell it. Synthetics are designated as Schedule I drugs, because of their high rate of addiction and abuse.

  • Possession of less than 3 grams is classified as a first degree misdemeanor with a possible punishment of up to one year in jail
  • Possession of more than 3 grams is classified as a third degree felony with a possible punishment of up to five years imprisonment.

In defending a synthetic drug charge, a capable attorney may employ a number of legal tactics prior to and during the court proceeding. He may question the legality of the search or create doubt about your knowledge of the drug.

If you or a loved one is facing synthetic drug charges within the state of Florida, we are prepared to help you today. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.

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