March 11, 2016   |   Michaela Whitton
March 11, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — A number of Emergency Medical departments in Florida are taking an unconventional approach to dealing with aggressive patients high on flakka — they are arming paramedics with ketamine. Intramuscular ketamine injected into the patient’s thigh can sedate a patient within about one minute, without affecting the person’s respiratory system or heart rate.
Many have observed the media panic over flakka, the synthetic stimulant, and wondered whether the hysteria has done more harm than good. With behavioural descriptors such as “zombie-like” and “deranged,” reported side effects of the drug include murderous rage, paranoia, extreme violence, screaming, streaking, and fleeing imaginary killers. A two-minute online search pulls up some scary videos; numerous reports of people arrested while reportedly high on the drug appear, as do stories of tens of deaths attributed to flakka-related overdoses.
While some organisations report a decline in the use of the drug, others say it has outpaced cocaine in popularity, mainly because one dose sets people back a mere $5. In South Florida, a combination of the growing popularity of flakka and the violent behaviour and super-human strength often displayed by users has led the emergency services to introduce the radical step of using ketamine on patients showing signs of aggression.
As a result of the major challenges for first responders who are often faced with violence, Indian River County Fire and EMS has announced that paramedics will be trained on how to administer ketamine, an anaesthetic and analgesic drug also used (illicitly) as a hallucinogenic. Their vehicles will be equipped with the drug within the next two weeks.
“It will knock them out, but it won’t hurt them in any way, shape or form,” battalion Chief Cory Richter told WPBF 25. “It will allow us to treat them and get them to the hospital, and it keeps our guys safe.”
Other EMS departments in Florida have also started using ketamine to subdue aggressive flakka patients. The city of Plantation has vials of ketamine on all of their rescue vehicles, but reports only needing to use them roughly once per month. According to The Fix, local officials claim ketamine is more effective than other drugs because it doesn’t affect the person’s respiratory system or heart rate.
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