ToquiNotes: New, Dangerous Drug Flakka Showing up Locally and Makes Unwelcome City Appearance

By Jeff Toquinto on December 09, 2017 from ToquiNotes via Connect-Bridgeport.com

About a month and a half ago, on Oct. 20 to be exact, I received a text from Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker late on a Friday evening. Walker was texting to let me know that the drug Flakka, which we had talked about just a few days prior, had advanced from heading into the region into being in the region.
 
Basically, he was letting me know the story I was writing on law enforcement embracing for Flakka’s imminent arrival had changed. It was officially here.
 
Since that time, there’s not been much reported on the drug. That doesn’t mean it’s left the area. For that matter, it doesn’t mean that a person hasn’t been on it right here in Bridgeport.
 
“We’ve actually had to deal with one individual determined to be on Flakka already in the city,” said Walker. “For those thinking it’s not here, I can assure them it’s here.”
 
So what is Flakka?
 
Flakka is a synthetic or designer drug and can be combined with other drugs such as marijuana. Not surprisingly, chemicals in Flakka are similar to those in bath salts.
 
The side effects aren’t exactly what you want to see. They are listed as bizarre and uncontrollable behavior and one report said it can create “murderous rage.” Walker has said the information he received included something also alarming for officers and the public is that those taking Flakka believe and exhibit unmatched strength.
 
While side effects are common with drugs, one that isn’t often thrown about is the term “murderous rage.” This isn’t a scare tactic. If you’re not already aware we have a drug problem on our hands here in all parts of Harrison County – some parts more than others – there’s nothing I can write here that will prompt a change of one’s mind.
 
I write this because like everything else involved in this already out of control drug culture that has permeated the area, it’s likely going to get worse before it gets better. Already, Walker said his department, other departments and the Harrison County Drug Task Force are dealing with the situation.
 
“We’re getting information that it’s starting to come in and gathering the data to try and piece the information together from the cases we’re already dealing with,” said Walker, who serves as the chairman of the Drug Task Force. “The information is looking at where it’s coming from, who’s selling and trying to keep it out of the wrong hands. Like everything else we’re facing with the drug situation, everything is on the secretive side when it comes to the illegal activity.”
 
Everything is also on the time consuming side. Every time there’s a situation involving drugs, and that numbers seems to be inflating throughout the entire region,
 
“From a law enforcement perspective, it’s a hard job to track down and locate it and once you locate it you have to deal with lab work. When you’re dealing with someone on Flakka or another drug, you are generally looking at officers being tied up, easily, for a couple of hours or usually more.”
 
Walker said he can’t release a lot of details involving the cases with Flakka in the area and in Harrison County. He said those cases are still being investigated by multiple agencies, including the Harrison County Drug Task Force.
 
As for the recent encounter involving members of his own staff with the person on Flakka within Bridgeport, Walker said it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
 
“If you’ve seen videos of people on Flakka, it was just like that. They have no control over their body movements, they’re super strong and you can’t rationalize with them. There is no sitting down and talking to them to get the situation under control,” said Walker. “Fortunately, the officers were able to stay engaged in the situation long enough to bring them down with medical help as soon as it was possible.”
 
Walker said it took a couple of his officers to finally settle the situation. The matter is compounded, he said, because you’re trying to protect the individual and prevent hard to anyone around them.
 
“I can’t say it enough that every part of our area, including our city, is dealing with this to different levels because there’s no immunity to addiction,” said Walker. “There are very few people who are fortunate enough to not be impacted by this. If you talk to someone about the situation it’s highly likely they have a family member, friend or acquaintance suffering from some form of addiction.”
 
The most alarming thing is that Walker said the speed at which the problem changes and accelerates is something he’s not faced in nearly four decades of serving the community as an officer.
 
“Absolutely, it’s the worst trend I’ve seen during my career and it’s not even close. On the drug front alone what we’re seeing doesn’t compare to the drugs of 20 years ago and it amazes me what these new drugs do to your body,” Walker, who is in his 38th year wearing a badge, said. “I was thinking the other day I used to get questioned about changes we saw in law enforcement and you’d say the past 10 to 15 years there have been some noticeable negative changes. Now, I say the changes are in the past few months and they’re not only for the worse, they’re showing that we’re deteriorating at a rapid pace.”
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Chief John Walker at a recent city event (photo by www.benqueenphotography.com), while he's shown below with a picture of Flakka shown on his computer screen.


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