The Malta Police Force has confirmed they found a synthetic drug resembling the “zombie drug” Flakka back in 2015.
However, they could not prosecute the person found with it because the ‘bath salt’ drug – which sends users into a mad frenzy and has even been linked to cannablism – is not listed as an illegal substance in Maltese law.
In the wake of local drug expert Mario Mifsud’s recent warning that Flakka has made its way into Malta, Lovin Malta sent questions to the police – asking how much Flakka and ‘bath salts’ the police have seized in recent years, from which localities they were seized, how many people have been prosecuted in court with the possession or trafficking of ‘bath salts’, and whether police officers are being trained on how to identify symptoms of the drug and how to treat users.
We received a two-sentences response this morning which we are reproducing in full:
“With reference to your email hereunder kindly note that so far the police had one case way back in 2015 whereby it appears that a synthetic substance similar to Flakka was found. However since this is not listed as an illegal substance, no court action was taken.”
Flakka, also called ‘gravel’ and the ‘Devil’s Drug’, is a cheap synthetic ‘bath salt’ that comes in powder form and can be inhaled, smoked or injected. It gives users a similar but cheaper high to cocaine, but its effects can be much more dangerous – they have been described as a mix between the stimulant effects of cocaine and ice and the hallucinogenic effects of LSD.
Users have been seen running naked through traffic, throwing themselves at car windows or off balconies, and attempting to perform sex acts on trees.
Lovin Malta has received unconfirmed reports of people in Paceville, who have shown similar symptoms to those under the influence of Flakka.
We have asked justice minister Owen Bonnici whether the government plans to criminalise Flakka and other ‘bath salts’, but has not received a response ten days since the email was sent.
Neither have we received a response from health minister Chris Fearne and Mater Dei CEO Ivan Falzon on how many patients have been administered to hospital with symptoms resembling those caused by Flakka and whether hospital staff are being trained on how to deal with patients experiencing symptoms of Flakka use.
However, leading psychiatrist Anton Grech confirmed several youths have been diagnosed with a severe mental disorder after taking synthetic drugs.
“We have had patients exhibiting bizarre psychotic behaviour after using these drugs, slamming their heads against the wall, hearing voices and seeing visions,” Grech told The Times of Malta. “There has been a clear increase in the number of patients requiring psychiatric care as a result of these substances.”