Last weekend got downright bizarre in the eastern Missouri town of Sullivan, and police say they know why.
Four people went on a rampage, barking and yelling, breaking into buildings, even stripping off their clothes and showering in soda water, police say. They suspect the synthetic drug flakka is behind the behavior.
“We had multiple incidents this past weekend of people on some kind of substance acting out of their minds,” Sullivan Police Lt. Patrick Johnson told the Sullivan Independent News. “Barking like dogs, running up and down the street, or other farm animals, entering people’s homes, breaking into a business, yelling outside of local businesses.”
Two people were arrested, and some of the users were treated at a hospital.
The drugs have not yet been tested, but police believe the users mixed methamphetamine with flakka, a manmade drug that has caused strange behavior in other places.
Last year, The Star reported that flakka was hitting hard in Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and other parts of the country and that police were worried that it would spread to Missouri and Kansas City. It was causing a rash of emergency room visits and overdose deaths.
In one highly publicized Florida case, a man reportedly high on flakka gnawed on and disfigured another man’s face before he was shot to death by police. Another user tried to break down the door of a police station in Fort Lauderdale, and a few weeks later, a man impaled himself while trying to climb a fence around the same station.
Also known as alpha-PVP, flakka has a similar chemical makeup to other drugs commonly known as “bath salts,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
It typically comes in a white or pink crystalline form and is foul-smelling. It can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in an electronic cigarette device, according to the national institute, which has included flakka on a list of emerging trends.
Sullivan, a town of about 7,000 residents, is 70 miles southwest of St. Louis.
“My dad came in Saturday morning ready to open the place (up) and noticed that the doors by the machine area were opened up and came in and noticed one of our cash registers was knocked over on the floor,” Alec Ockrassa, general manager of Sullivan Bowl, told KSDK. The suspects took more than a thousand dollars from the business, Ockrassa said.
He said the incidents over the weekend had community members buzzing, stunned by what happened.
“Shocked, really caught off guard,” he said. “Some are scared, some are just surprised something like this is happening here. For the most part it’s a really quiet town.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.