Deputy attack highlights lasting flakka effects

Posted at 11:35 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 23:35:25-05

A local deputy is recovering from a brutal attack by an inmate believed to still be high on flakka. The attack is sounding the alarm on just how long the drug's effects can last. 

Surveillance video shows Deputy Jeff Wolski escorting Katheryn Chinn, 23, who was handcuffed when she pulled her arms over the deputy's head and tried to choke him. Sheriff Deryl Loar says Chinn was likely still under the influence of flakka from an arrest three days earlier.

"The Deputy was a very large Deputy that was taken to the ground by somebody that had seemingly supernatural strength," said Sheriff Loar. 

Micah Robbins with the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition says one dose of flakka can last three to five days, even a month in your body. The drug can be snorted, smoked or injected. 

"This has a residual effect factor so you could do it once and five days later you're coming down and 60 days later something could trigger that substance again and it could still be in your system," said Robbins.

Law enforcement agencies across our areas are seeing a spike in flakka cases. Broward led the state last year with 477 cases analyzed in crime labs. Palm Beach County had 29, Indian River County had 4, Martin County had 3, and St. Lucie County had 2, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

"Someone could be wandering through your backyard, someone could have broken into your home, so there is a number of ways this is just dangerous and scary," added Robbins. 

It's getting more difficult for law enforcement to control. The effects of each dose can be extremely different. 

"It enhances every nerve receptor in the body so everything is elevated," said Robbins. "Everything is escalated from strength to adrenaline so it does seems like almost super human strength." 

The Martin County Sheriff's Office just held a regional training on how to safely respond in a situation where a suspect may be on flakka. If it is clear the suspect is on flakka, paramedics are called. If the symptoms begin at the jail, the suspect is isolated in a medical unit for further observation and taken to the hospital if symptoms worsen.