What is Flakka?

Flakka is a dangerous street drug. People who take flakka may have odd behaviors, excessive stimulation, and other side effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that flakka abuse is a dangerous problem in the United States.

Flakka is similar to other drugs, including meth, cocaine, and bath salts. This inexpensive, hazardous drug can cause significant short and long-term harm. It is crucial to be aware of the risks of using flakka and seek treatment if you need help to overcome substance abuse.

This article will provide critical information about flakka. You will learn:

  • What flakka is
  • The side effects of flakka
  • How flakka addiction may develop
  • What to expect in treatment for flakka abuse
  • Where to find comprehensive treatment and support

If you or someone you love uses flakka or other addictive substances, you must seek treatment as soon as possible. Reach out to The Best Treatment specialists to learn about our comprehensive addiction treatment and support programs.

Flakka: An Overview

Flakka is the street name for a synthetic (human-made) stimulant drug. The complete name for flakka is alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (Alpha-PVP). It is chemically similar to other
“designer drugs” called bath salts. Both of these substances contain a synthetic version of a chemical called cathinone. Cathinone is a naturally occurring stimulant compound present in the khat plant.

Flakka is available in pink or white crystals. People ingest flakka by snorting, injecting, eating, or vaporizing it.

The Side Effects and Risks of Flakka

Flakka is a dangerous synthetic drug that has powerful stimulant effects. People may experience side effects that include:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Extreme agitation
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Delirium
  • Increased sex drive
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme paranoia

People may exhibit strange or dangerous behaviors while using flakka. First responders have reported people with “superhuman” strength while using flakka requiring many people to restrain them.

People who use flakka may have disturbing or frightening hallucinations or delusions. They may believe people are chasing or trying to kill them. There are documented cases of people harming or killing others while high on flakka. People may also injure themselves or die by suicide.

Flakka’s effects are potent and put people at immediate risk of harm. Recognizing the symptoms of flakka abuse can help you seek treatment and support. Signs of flakka abuse include:

  • Hyperstimulation (intense excitement)
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Agitation
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Violent behaviors toward self or others
  • Seizures
  • Excited delirium
  • Psychosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rhythm

In some cases, a person’s body may become dangerously overheated. Some reports show that high doses of flakka can lead to body temperatures of 106 degrees or more. This temperature can cause brain and heart damage.

People who use flakka may also experience renal failure (kidney failure), heart attack, and liver damage. This dangerous drug changes the brain’s chemical balance, which can lead to brain damage.

People who abuse flakka are at risk of a life-threatening overdose. Signs of an overdose include:

  • Dramatically increased strength
  • Inability to feel pain
  • Speech changes
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Bizarre behaviors
  • Violent or disturbing hallucinations
  • Sweating or taking off clothes because of increased body temperature

It can be challenging to determine when someone has crossed the line into an overdose. There is no safe amount of flakka to use. Anyone using it is at risk of dangerous complications.

Can You Get Addicted to Flakka?

There are many stories that show the danger of flakka use. However, people may use it because it is a cheap alternative to cocaine and other stimulants at $5 per use.

The effects of flakka also last much longer than cocaine. Cocaine’s effects may last 30 minutes or less. People may experience the effects of flakka for up to 5 hours.

Researchers estimate flakka is up to 10 times stronger than cocaine. The effects of flakka can vary because no one regulates its production. People may use it in small doses for its stimulant effects. In small doses, people may feel energetic or euphoric.

People may use flakka frequently to maintain its effects. Over time, they may develop tolerance, meaning they need to take larger doses to get the desired effects. If they stop taking it, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.

These signs of addiction can indicate someone needs drug addiction treatment. There is no safe amount of flakka. Anyone using it must stop right away. It is critical to seek treatment if you cannot stop taking flakka on your own or experience withdrawal symptoms during detox.

Find Treatment Now

Flakka addiction treatment programs focus on treating the emotional, physical, and behavioral aspects of substance abuse. Getting the treatment you need can help you safely stop using flakka or other drugs. Then, you will learn skills and find ongoing support to help you avoid relapse.

Contact the specialists at The Best Treatment to learn about our holistic treatment and support programs. Our intake team will answer your questions, verify insurance, and help you schedule an intake appointment quickly.


  1. National Institute of Health (NIH): Flakka: New Dangerous Synthetic Cathinone on the Drug Scene
  2. United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Flakka (alpha-PVP)
  3. The Saudi Journal of Forensic Medicine and Sciences: Flakka: “The Zombie Drug” A Medicolegal Concern: An Updated Review of α-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone
  4. New York University: Use of Synthetic Drug Flakka Rare Among High School Seniors, But Most Users Take Numerous Drugs

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.