DUI & Flakka

Question: My son got a DUI in Marietta. He was honest with me and told me that he did not drink any alcohol and he was not drunk. He told me, and I believe him when he says he didn't have anything to drink. I know he doesn't really like to drink because it makes him feel sick.

But he said that he and a friend took a drug called “flakka.” He said they each swallowed a little bit of flakka and they began to hallucinate and became very paranoid. My son thought he was going to be attacked so he got in his car and drove away from that situation. Unfortunately, a Cobb County police officer said he almost hit his car and the cop pulled him over.

My son was so scared of the whole situation because he was paranoid and hallucinating. He ran away from the cops. The Cobb police caught him and after a brief struggle, he was arrested.

Now he's facing a host of charges including DUI. I don't know much at all about this flakka drug. But can you get a DUI just by being on a drug and not having anything to drink? Have you heard of flakka?

V.B. in Marietta

Answer: Flakka is a new synthetic drug that has been in the news recently for triggering extremely bizarre behavior. Flakka can be snorted, vaped, eaten, or smoked. It is a grainy, crystalline powder and can easily enter the bloodstream. It can cost as little as $5.00 and is also called “gravel.” Its active ingredient is a chemical compound called alpha-PVP.

There have been reported cases of people under the influence of flakka doing very strange things, including thinking they were being chased by a pack of wild dogs; another man tried to break into a police department and a person was impaled trying to climb a fence.

You can get a DUI in Georgia without consuming alcohol. The law provides that taking a drug alone can make an individual a less safe driver. Many people are charged every year for DUI who have not had anything to drink but have taken a legal or illegal drug that has caused them to be less safe drivers.

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