PLANTATION (CBSMiami) – A call came in to Plantation Fire Rescue Station 4 a few weeks ago about a large and violent man exhibiting what's known as "excited delirium" at a nearby library.
"He was thrashing, yelling, talking loud, throwing chairs and books in the library," said Shaun Sands, an EMT with the Plantation Fire Department.
Sands said police officers tased and restrained the man but he was still acting violent and first responders felt he was a danger.
Lt. Daniel Tringali doesn't know if the man was on the drug flakka but he says the man was showing the symptoms. So his crew gave the man a shot of ketamine, a powerful sedative.
"If a police officer's Taser doesn't stop them, something has to stop them," Tringali said. "We decided that in his best interest, for his safety, we would chemically restrain him so he wouldn't harm himself or anyone else."
"The three of us without this drug he probably could have seriously hurt us," Sand said.
Within two minutes, first responders said the man was in a catatonic state.
"It calms them down so that we can put them on our stretcher and transport them to the hospital in a safe manner," he said. "No harm to us and no harm to the patient himself."
First responders said ketamine works better than other drugs because it does not affect a person's heart rate and doesn't affect the respiratory system.
Another benefit first responders said is the drug prevents a patient from having to be forcefully restrained and possibly harming themselves and later blaming and suing paramedics.
These men and women know the dangers of designer synthetic drugs like flakka, which can make a person feel like they have overwhelming strength.
There have been several incidents of bizarre behavior from people on the drug – such as running through the streets naked, trying to break into a police department and impaling themselves trying to get into a police department.
For these first responders the priority is safety and they say the new use of a drug like ketamine allows them to be safer.
"All of us have wives, husbands, children at home and that's our main goal, come to work and get home safe the next morning," Sands said.
Plantation Fire Rescue said that vials of ketamine are on every rescue truck in the city. They say they've used it three or four times in the past few months with good results.
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