New ‘zombie drug’ flakka hits Durban for holidays

Anti-drug activist Sam Pillay has described symptoms displayed by people under the influence of a dangerous drug, which has made its way to Durban, as similar to watching a horror movie.

Pillay, founder and director of Anti-Drug Forum SA, is also worried that the drug, known as “flakka” or the “zombie drug”, which has been sweeping Australia and the US, has hit Durban at the time school exams finish.

“People should not be encouraged to experiment with it because it can be very dangerous to them and people around them,” said Pillay.

“We have experienced it with some people who come to our centre and their drinks were spiked. After drinking that, they displayed those symptoms of flakka; they started feeling the effects of flakka. They turn into zombies and become abusive and violent and they were imagining things and hallucinating,” said Pillay.

“And those are the kind of things that happen. We had to sedate them and send three or four people to sit them down when they were high on this drug. It’s like a horror movie.

The Chatsworth-based Anti-Drug Forum is a voluntary organisation formed in April 2005 to assist a community ravaged by substance abuse.

Pillay said it is scary that the drug has reached Durban and its surrounding areas. “We hope that it’s nipped in the bud and it doesn’t reach other areas in the country. We know that the Specialised Crime Unit is working on it.”

On Tuesday three men were reportedly hospitalised in Chatsworth after taking the drug at a party. One of the men allegedly attacked a woman, biting off a chunk of her arm. Another is reported to have suffered heart failure.

Flakka is priced from R400 to R1 000.

Side-effects of this new street drug include changes in behaviour or mood. It may also cause extreme agitation, jerking muscles, delirious thoughts and profound paranoia.

Word on the streets is that flakka is a combination of heroin and crack, but its scientific description is that the drug is just a newer-generation version of bath salts. Pillay said the drug could be taken as a tablet or snorted as powder.

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