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Prison paparazzi videos show alleged flakka use inside Alabama prisons

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - YouTube videos uploaded by inmates who appear to be inside Alabama prisons shows the effects of a drug known as flakka on inmates who appear to be using it inside state correctional facilities.

Asked to describe the drug’s effects, Dr. Chuck Smith from American Addiction Centers replies: “My best description is it’s meth on steroids.”

Dr. Smith treats flakka-addicted patients and says the stimulant can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally, and can cause acute psychosis---something you can see in the videos uploaded from inside Alabama prisons.

“Actually lasts longer than methamphetamine and a lot more powerful,” Dr. Smith says.

The prison paparazzi videos we’ve seen also show inmates described as being on flakka in a catatonic state----almost as if someone pressed the “pause” button on their bodies.

“Initially, it would be a stimulating phase where they would not be catatonic like you’re talking about,” describes Dr. Smith. “But then there would be the prodrome of that where they basically became helpless.”

So how are they getting into Alabama prisons? Dr. Smith says he believes most flakka comes to the U.S. from China, but someone with the right knowledge and chemicals could manufacture it themselves. So how does it get inside these walls?

“I’m a big advocate for monitoring, surveillance,” Dr. Smith says. “As difficult as it may be---the workforce there at the prison. I would advocate for more stringent searching---almost something similar to what the TSA does at airports. I mean these chemicals are getting into the criminal justice system. That’s how you remedy situations, you dig deeper into them and find the flaw and then try to correct it. Not being a security expert I can’t cast any stones as far as what their security is other than to say it’s not tight enough.”

We reached out to the ADOC for some insight on how these drugs could be ending up in Alabama prisons. We have not heard back from them.

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