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Grand Jury: New Law, More Resources Need To Fight Flakka

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) -- A Broward grand jury recommends a new law and more resources be put in place to fight against the spread of the drug Flakka.

Prosecutor Tony Loe said police and prosecutors are seeing skyrocketing numbers of cases of flakka in Broward County in just the past few years.

"1,800 in 2015 in one county in the United States," he told CBS 4's Carey Codd. "It's staggering."

Loe oversaw the six-month grand jury investigation of flakka.

The Broward State Attorney's Office released their 68-page report Monday that states the behavior of flakka users is "frightening, dangerous and deadly." A dose would give the user "superhuman strength" along with hallucinations, delusions, aggressiveness and violence.

The reaction is a problem for first responders and law enforcement who often need to call for back-up to subdue the flakka user - usually in an "excited delirium."

In the past 18 months, there has been video of flakka users running naked through the streets and people trying to break into police departments by kicking down doors or by scaling a fence and impaling themselves.

Though it's $5 a dose, the report states, the drug has an "incredible return on investment" for those selling which they say is partially responsible for the spread of the drug.

According to the report, the synthetic drugs are manufactured mostly in industrial plants in China and are shipped through commercial delivery services.

Grand jurors said part of the problem with flakka is that legislators have only outlawed the chemical compounds of drugs like flakka. Once outlawed, the bad guys simply tweak the compound to make another similar drug that is no longer illegal.

"We need new legislation in place to stop the manufacturer before it begins," Loe said.

For synthetic drugs, the grand jury called for a passage of a law in Florida meant to regulate the entire class of synthetic drugs – not just the individual chemical compounds.

He said there is a bill pending before legislators in Tallahassee that would do just that.

A similar law is in effect in at least 32 other states.

Loe said another problem the grand jurors pointed out is a lack of beds at Broward treatment facilities for people trying to get off flakka.

"What do we do with these people?" Loe said. "If somebody truly wants help, we in the community need to give them that help."

Loe said grand jurors want to see better safety methods for police dealing with flakka users and better education programs to teach young people and their parents about the ways flakka can alter your brain or body, or even kill you.

"By you taking these drugs you're effectively cutting down your life span and you could end up dead far, far sooner," Loe said.

Flakka-related deaths in Broward are up to 61 in just the past 15 months.

With the analysis of the drug's effects, they had some solutions and recommendations not only for the fight against flakka but also for other synthetic drugs like "molly."

"These drugs aren't the drugs that grandparents and parents talked about," Loe said. "These are new and they're extremely deadly and if we don't get that message out to our very young, we're gonna have a whole other generation and see the same thing over and over again. And that's not acceptable to us."

Loe believes Broward is the first community in the country to put together a grand jury report like this on flakka and he hopes it spurs some much needed conversation.

Click here for the full report.

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