Buying illicit drugs like flakka is not safe in any context. Still, some people choose to buy the drug online. They may be tempted by lower prices or the idea of buying something online without dealing with street dealers.
There are many risks in buying any illicit substance online. You could have your financial information stolen or receive an even more dangerous product.
Flakka is a drug similar to cocaine in its effects, but it can be more dangerous. A May 2015 CNN report explains that flakka is a synthetic drug, and its risks can be similar to those associated with bath salts.
Flakka, known in the streets as gravel or zombie drug, looks similar to raw sugar or salt crystals. People inject, snort, or smoke it. Like cocaine, it can make users feel extremely alert.
Other reported effects of taking flakka are:
The CNN report highlighted stories of people who behaved bizarrely after taking flakka, such as a girl in Florida who claimed to be Satan and a man who broke hurricane-proof doors at a South Florida police station.
Selling unlawful substances is illegal whether it is done on the streets or online. Even buying prescription medication over the internet can be risky.
If you purchase flakka online, you risk:
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A November 2017 article from the Sunday Times mentions that flakka is so harmful because all synthetic drugs cause effects in people that are not yet understood. Flakka and bath salts are becoming more popular because certain widely known drugs, like opioids, are being more tightly regulated.
Common side effects from flakka are:
Information about items that may contaminate flakka is not widely available. As mentioned by Healthline, flakka is often the contaminant in other drugs. People who buy ecstasy are likely to encounter flakka as a contaminant in their MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) pills.
If flakka is illegal, then where would anyone buy it? Per Lifewire, many potential drug buyers use the dark web to buy illicit services and substances.
Most people use the surface web, where they access sites like Google to find things. Every browser in most computers is equipped to use the surface web. The dark web requires a special browser that makes it harder to track what you are browsing online.
You could still get caught if you are buying drugs online, but it will be a little bit harder if you are using the dark web. Law enforcement, however, is ncreasingly targeting these sites.
Flakka is a synthetic drug, and its already dangerous effects could increase if you mix it with alcohol or other drugs. Healthline reports that most teenagers do not actually want to try flakka, but they encounter it when they purchase other drugs.
It is possible to test the drugs you buy for the presence of flakka. This is not a foolproof way to stay safe. If you are taking any illicit substance, you are taking on significant risks.
A March 2017 Vice article explains how drug testing can help yo:
Vice mentions that many reagent kits contain a small vial where you add the drug you are about to take. You then add chemicals depending on the drug you are testing for, and you have to interpret these results using a color chart.
In the United Kingdom, organizations such as The Loop help users test their drugs using more accurate methods. Reagent kits available to consumers are not perfect. If you do not know enough about chemistry, it might be difficult to interpret your results, but testing is still better than nothing.
In addition to the health consequences, you need to keep in mind that flakka is a scheduled drug. Buying it in any way makes it likely that you will experience legal consequences if you get caught, especially if you buy it regularly.
The U.S. Postal Service has now established ways it can keep track of packages from people who buy marijuana through the mail. You can expect a similar treatment of your packages if they contain flakka.
The police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are just some of the agencies that can become involved if you are caught buying illegal drugs online. Some consequences could include:
You will still have the right to seek legal help and contest any charges against you. If you are charged and this involves a court, you face the same types of consequences you would face if you had bought flakka on the street.
(May 2015) The Dangers of Buying Flakka Online. CNN. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/26/health/flakka-gravel-illegal-drugs/index.html
(February 2019) Flakka: Teens May Be Ingesting This Dangerous Drug Without Knowing It. Healthline. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-is-flakka-and-is-your-teen-using-it
(April 2018) Dangers of buying medicines online. NHS. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/pharmacies/dangers-of-buying-medicines-online/
(June 2018) Safety and Potential Problems With Online Pharmacies. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.verywellhealth.com/buying-prescriptions-online-pharmacy-safety-2614904
(October 2016) Packages Suspected of Containing Marijuana. United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.uspsoig.gov/document/packages-suspected-containing-marijuana
Asset Forfeiture. FBI. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime/asset-forfeiture
DEA Asset Forfeiture. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.dea.gov/dea-asset-forfeiture
(November 2018) What Is the Dark Web and Why Do People Use It? Lifewire. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.lifewire.com/access-the-dark-web-3481559
(March 2017) Are Home Drug Testing Kits Actually Helpful? VICE. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/3dmyj3/are-home-drug-testing-kits-actually-helpful
(November 2017) Five things to know about Flakka, the so-called ‘zombie drug.’ Sunday Times. Retrieved March 2019 from from https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-11-09-five-things-to-know-about-flakka/
(February 2019) No Drugs, No Crime and Just Pennies for School: How Police Use Civil Asset Forfeiture. Pulitzer Center. Retrieved March 2019 from from http://www.pulitzercenter.org/reporting/no-drugs-no-crime-and-just-pennies-school-how-police-use-civil-asset-forfeiture