Recent stories about a new designer drug have brought interest to a condition known as “excited delirium.” In the most recent case, a Florida man ran screaming from his home, ripping off his clothes and resisting police restraints with super human strength. In another case, also from Florida, a man running from police jumped to an extraordinary height when trying to vault over a fence, and impaled himself in the process. In yet another instance, a Fort Lauderdale man almost succeeded in kicking down the glass doors of the city police department. All three individuals reported the use of flakka prior to the reported incidents. The new designer drug is a rock-like, crystalline substance, sometimes colorful in nature, not unlike bath salts, another designer drug that produces some of the same symptoms: Severe anxiety, hallucinations, elevated body temperatures, speech disturbances, and violent or particularly bizarre behavior. While excited delirium has been reported with cocaine use, it is also associated with the use of flakka.
Some medical experts doubt the authenticity of excited delirium as an official medical condition, and others warn of the dire consequences of not treating it as such. A recent FBI bulletin warns police personnel that unless treated medically immediately, excited delirium can result in death, and it can also result in litigation, if ignored. The bulletin reports fatality rates of up to 10 percent. Civil rights activists have determined that death is caused not by the drug itself but by the force exerted to restrain those with the condition, who have adrenaline surges that bring on super human strength. Individuals often die within one hour after police arrive on the scene. Activists claim that police use excited delirium as a defense against excessive force or brutality, which they say is the only cause of death in such cases.