South Florida

Broward Sheriff's Deputies Hit the Streets to Fight Flakka

Fighting flakka. The designer drug is causing bizarre and uncontrollable behavior across South Florida and the Broward Sheriff's Office is working to get it off the streets.

There's been is a huge spike this year in flakka cases. Northern and central Broward have seen a lot of it. Wednesday night alone, NBC 6's cameras tagged along and caught two instances, one with an arrest, another with a man who ended up in the hospital.

The night began with a 911 call about man at a convenience store in Deerfield Beach acting erratically.

When police showed up, they knew right away the person was on flakka. That person is currently in the hospital fighting for his life.

"He's pushing me, I think he's coming toward the register but I hold him like that and he pretends like he sick or something like that," said the store clerk who had no idea what was happening and pressed the panic button. "He asked for... he said give me something... I told him to go over there go get something to drink."

And later in the evening, a routine traffic stop turned into a significant drug bust with a large amount of flakka.

"What one would see would lead them to believe it was something else. But just the smallest amount of flakka is detrimental and that's why we consider this a great arrest today," said a Broward Sheriff's deputy.

BSO’s Crime Suppression Team is aggressively cracking down on flakka, which they say is poisoning the streets. It's cheap and unpredictable. It produces a psychotic state and makes people believe they have superhuman strength, "which makes it difficult for us because normal police tactics just aren't working."

The biggest side effect of flakka is excited delirium. One case saw a man stripping down, bolting through the streets of Fort Lauderdale claiming people are chasing him and trying to get him.

Another case saw a man, who also thought people were after him, tugging and slamming the doors to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. He also threw rocks against the hurricane proof glass.

"And that's why we get one individual who's been using flakka on a particular day... uses it again, same amount... experiences excited delirium where they have to be rushed to the hospital where their life is in jeopardy," said the deputy.

Last year there were fewer than 200 cases of flakka in Broward County. This year has already passed that by more than double. And now kids are at risk.

"At schools, in night clubs and parties. A lot of times, for my experience, when I've seen it, it is by accident. They think they're using another type of synthetic drug and in fact they're using flakka."

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