New ‘zombie’ drug has got youth in its grip

By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: Recently, a new so-called “zombie” drug is spreading among the youth. The drug, also known as flakka, is a synthetic stimulant drug that belongs to the cathinone class. Kuwait Times spoke with a 27-year-old recovered addict to learn more. “Zombie is considered a cheaper alternative to shabu or heroin. It also has a stronger effect compared to chemical drugs, and it’s now widespread not only in Kuwait, but in other Arab countries too,” he said. Regarding its effects, he said flakka gives a sense of excessive euphoria, which makes the user get rid of their fears, anxiety and depression in a short trip.

But the problem is that the user under its influence sometimes sees things that do not exist, resulting in false feelings and hallucinations that people are watching them, which gives a sense of paranoia. It works primarily by affecting certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which leads to having intense feelings. The recovered addict noted the drug is made in China and is considered a synthetic drug and not a natural one. It then spread from India to the US. “Currently, the drug is one of the reasons for having many young addicts in the US, as a chemical drug may cost $40, but zombie is sold for $5,” he said.

Visitors read books at the center’s library.

He pointed out the zombie drug is chemically related to other substances like bath salts and is designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, which gained notoriety in the early 2010s for their potent and dangerous effects. The drug can be found in the form of white or pink crystals, resembling small gravel or chunks, and it is typically ingested by snorting, smoking or injecting.

However, the drug has been associated with numerous cases of extreme behavior, leading to violent outbursts and self-destructive actions. In Kuwait, statistics reveal the number of perpetrators of felony offenses related to drugs reached 2,349 males (1,409 Kuwaitis) and 97 females (69 Kuwaitis), while drug abusers among juveniles reached 200 teenagers from 2016 to 2020. Many studies have found drug dealers lure the newer generation and make them fall into the trap of abuse. In Kuwait, 650 people died of drug overdoses in a span of nine years (2012-2020), 400 of which are Kuwaiti citizens.

The post New ‘zombie’ drug has got youth in its grip appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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