While the effects of Flakka addiction on the user is clear, the extrapersonal effects of Flakka dependency are often overlooked. Addiction is not a solitary disease- it affects all those close to the user, causing strain and collapse of relationships. With the financial strain of supporting a drug habit, addicts often struggle to make ends meet and are especially susceptible to homelessness and crippling debt. Families of those addicted to Flakka suffer under the strain of financial irresponsibility associated with drug use; addiction may be easy to miss without being familiar with the symptoms of flakka addiction. Desperation leads addicts to engage in acts they would not otherwise consider such as theft, robbery, sex work, and other criminal behavior. While some family members may elect to ignore the signs of addiction and their effects on the family out of fear or helplessness, others find themselves frustrated and resentful in the face of the reality of addiction. Their anger is inaccurately aimed to the person suffering addiction rather than the condition itself. Misplaced blame causes those suffering from addiction to become defensive and deny their problem, compounding the strain. This leads to a loss of familial and romantic relationships as well as friendships, leaving the user seemingly abandoned and unsupported.In addition to the family strain Flakka addiction can cause, dependency on the designer drug deteriorates essential relationships in the working life of users as well. Tardiness, intoxication in the workplace, lethargy and irritability due to withdrawal can all put one’s employment in danger. Because of the intense effects of Flakka on the body and psyche it is difficult to hide public usage. Most states allow employers to fire employees for evidence of drug use or refusal to submit to testing. The increased stress due to job loss often drives addicts to use more heavily, rapidly depleting any savings. In some unfortunate situations homelessness is the result, especially if family support is lacking. Non-addicts may criticize those who choose to satisfy the addiction before hunger or shelter needs because they do not understand the all encompassing, sometimes painful necessity.
Flakka Destroys Communities
Broward County, Florida is the most affected by the Flakka epidemic. Most notably, Fort Lauderdale, FL leads the country in reported Flakka cases. The Broward County Sheriff Department reports an average of 100 cases per month and Broward Health Services report an average of 12 patients a day suffering adverse reactions to Flakka use. With such an influx of usage on the streets of South Florida and limited knowledge about Flakka, medical and police forces are struggling to keep up with and combat the incredibly dangerous drug. In addition to dangers caused directly by drug use, Flakka destroys communities by inviting a rise in an increase of criminal activity.Unfortunately people afflicted with Flakka dependency are rarely in control of themselves or in the proper mind-state to make sound decisions. With an increase in drug use comes an equal increase in criminal activity. From simple theft to armed robbery and murder, the crime spike poses a threat to even the most well staffed police forces. As it continues north and into the midwest where it is known as “gravel,” police departments and other emergency responders face understaffing issues. People under the influence of Flakka exhibit dangerous behavior and increases in aggression. They often require multiple people to restrain and safely transport and rural police departments do not have the available personnel to provide backup to responding officers.
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