Randox Toxicology unveils new weapon in fight against Flakka
- α-PVP , ‘Flakka’ or ‘$5 Insanity’ devastating communities in US
- UK based scientists create World’s first test for detection of Flakka
- Experts ‘on watch’ for Flakka appearance in UK and Ireland
- Randox Toxicology, the world leader in designer drug detection has developed a ground breaking test for detection of Flakka, a dangerous and highly addictive new psychoactive substance.
Use of α-PVP with the street names of ‘Flakka’ and ‘$5 Insanity’ is most prevalent in the United States, particularly in Florida, parts of which are experiencing what can only be described as an epidemic. Reports of the devastating impact in Broward County, Florida, have made headlines world-wide, with users experiencing psychosis-fuelled ‘super-human’ strength; inciting violent crime. The drug can also cause hyperthermia; extreme temperature elevation, which requires immediate treatment to stem disability or death.
α-PVP is a type of ‘bath salt’, a group of drugs called synthetic cathinones which are rising in popularity due to their low costand potent side effects. α-PVP / Flakka takes the form of a white or pink, foul-smelling crystal that can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device. Vaporizing is the most popular form of consumption, because it quickly sends the drug into the bloodstream, making it particularly easy to overdose. Like other drugs of this type, α-PVP can cause a condition called “excited delirium” that involves hyper-stimulation, paranoia, hallucinations and perceived ‘super human strength’ that can lead to aggression and self-injury.
Now, scientists at Randox Toxicology have created the World’s first test for Flakka. A specialist research team has deconstructed the components of the drug and developed a simple urine test which can detect the presence of α-PVP even at very low levels. Randox Toxicology, which works with law enforcement agencies around the globe, hopes that the test will assist police services and doctors tackling Flakka at the frontline, as Dr Joanne Darragh explains:
“We know Flakka, we know what it does to the body and mind, we also know that it is made by underground chemists, who are unregulated and that it has absolutely no place in pharmaceuticals. Our key focus is to stay ahead of the producers, to develop tests for these dangerous drugs before they flood the market.”
Dr Darragh’s team has been working on the test for the past six months and has created a format which allows it to be turned around from sample to results within 2 hours. Meanwhile, Dr Darragh says her chief scientists are watching for the first signs of Flakka in the UK:
“The majority of Flakka comes from China direct into the US and although we aren’t aware of any cases in the UK, that, could of course change. Our scientists are working with International government bodies, leading clinicians and law enforcement agencies to monitor trends, study police cases and analyse market intelligence.
“New psychoactive substances are being produced almost as quickly as we can develop tests for them, all it takes is one tweak to a molecule and you have something that is an unknown. This is the challenge, for us as scientists, for the police, for medics and for users – we don’t always know what is in them and this is what makes so called legal highs incredibly dangerous.”