The drug referred to as "$5 insanity" is getting mixed in with candy — and that has law enforcement agencies in South Florida worried.
After hitting the streets of South Florida in 2013, the street drug known as "Flakka," and to a lesser degree as "gravel," has been steadily expanding beyond the Sunshine State. Compounding that worry, the Miami-Dade Police say the drug is being packaged with candy.
In one drug bust, authorities found a zip lock bag filled with gummy bears — which were powdered with a substance later determined to be flakka, according to criminalist Stephen Snipes.
"The crystal was crushed up and a piece of candy was rolled in the crystals," Snipes said. "It wasn't as flexible and it was much stickier than the actual commercial product and it was individually wrapped."
States across the country have been working out new legislation to combat designer drugs, such as flakka and bath salts, which evolve chemically to pass through current laws. It's always a game of cat and mouse, said Daniel Ferrin, a detective for the Miami-Dade Police.
"These are all things we want to make sure, if we see it out on the street... make sure to stay away from it," said Ferrin.
With a named derived from "la flaca" – Spanish for skinny pretty girl – flakka's low price and high potency have been rocking South Florida with an impact similar to that of the bath salts proliferation before it.
"I've had one addict describe it as $5 insanity," said Don Maines, a drug treatment counselor with the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Fort Lauderdale. "They still want to try it because it's so cheap. It gives them heightened awareness. They feel stronger and more sensitive to touch. But then the paranoia sets in."
The flakka fantasies have pushed people to strip, streak, strike and steal with little or no self control. And its usage in trending up sharply.
"It's definitely something we are watching," said Chad Brown, a supervisory special agent for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "It's an emerging drug."