What’s in a Name? Decoding the Roots of the Flakka Drug

110515_What's in a Name Decoding the Roots of the Flakka Drug 

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Fancy names in street drugs are not new. When marijuana was still considered to be taboo, the substance is known by various street names like Mary Jane, astro turf, ganja, Texas tea, and dagga. Now, there’s some serious debate on where the name of the new designer drug Flakka $5 insanity really came from. Though media reports simply refer to it as the Flakka drug, the street name may actually be referring to famous hip hop artist Waka Flocka Fame.

The Flakka drug is a pretty notorious street drug that shares some chemical similarities with the “bath salt” drugs that became popular years ago. It is derived from the khat plant from the Middle East that is chewed in order to flood the brain with dopamine and generate a high. The Flakka can be snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed.

There are really several theories why the Flakka is named as such. For epidemiologist Jim Hall of the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, the street name may have come from Waka Flocka Flame. After all, Google searches for the “Flocka drug” are twice as popular as the Flakka drug. Furthermore, when the rapper was charged with crimes related to guns and drugs early this year, searches for “Flocka drug” started skyrocketing. It might be pure coincidence, but who knows?

Hall also thinks that “flakka” may be referring to a Spanish slang that denotes a beautiful, elegant, and charming woman. The word “flaca” also means “skinny” in Spanish.

“When we first heard the word, we thought it was referring to the fact that it’s a strong stimulant,” Hall said in an interview with the CBS. “Almost all stimulants have an appetite depressant quality to them, an almost anorexic quality.”

Still, Hall said that others refer to the drug simply as gravel, since it has a “crystal, small, lumped-up appearance that looks like grainy pebbles or gravel in an aquarium.”

No matter where the name of the Flakka drug came from, one thing’s for sure: It’s definitely one of Florida’s newest dangerous drug trends.

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