Why Flakka Patients Are Creating Security Risks at Hospitals

Published: February 16, 2016

As more people under the influence of flakka have entered hospitals recently, staff members are saying they pose a unique threat to hospital security.

The new drug, most commonly seen in Florida, has begun overwhelming hospitals in southern parts of Georgia as well.

Flakka is a dangerous stimulant that is similar to cocaine, although its effects last longer and it contains chemicals similar to bath salts. Flakka can be smoked, injected or snorted and is selling in many cases for as little as three dollars. People under the influence of Flakka have demonstrated psychotic, aggressive behaviors and increased strength.

“Unlike a typical patient who requires one nurse, [patient’s using flakka] may require the assistance of three or four nurses, a doctor, a respiratory therapist, technicians and our police staff on campus,” said Emergency Room Doctor Christine Braud, who works for a hospital in Georgia.

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Members of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia, say they have treated eight people who were high on flakka in the last week, according to wtoc.com. The patients experienced powerful hallucinations and were often combative.

In one instance, patient Rayshawn Alexander attacked several members of the hospital’s staff, hitting a nurse, striking a security officer with a chair multiple times and causing extensive damage to hospital equipment. Alexander has been charged with aggravated assault.

Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit (ADDU) officials say there’s no doubt flakka has found its way to Southern Georgia. ADDU Commander Major Prurience Dice called the trend a “major, major concern” and said he expects additional flakka-fueled incidents to occur at hospitals.

Braud said the amount of medication needed to sedate patients who have used flakka “is unbelievable” and Campus Safety has previously reported on an incident in Florida where a man who later admitted to being on flakka broke down hurricane-proof doors at a police station. A month later, a man was impaled on a fence at a Fort Lauderdale police station while high on flakka.

Flakka, which has also been blamed for violent incidents in Alabama, Mississippi and New Jersey, is under a temporary ban from the Drug Enforcement Administration, although in some cases dealers can get around that without breaking the law. A permanent ban would likely take several years.

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