ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Hospital officials say patients who have taken the synthetic drug known as Flakka are causing new concerns for their emergency room.
Leaders at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital said they have treated eight people who were high on Flakka over the last week, and some of them have been violent with hospital staff.
Flakka is a synthetic stimulant drug, with powerful effects on people, and possibly even deadly.
Phoebe Emergency Room Doctor Christine Braud says the tales about Flakka patients showing almost super-human strength while high on the synthetic drug are in fact true. She has seen it several times in just the last week.
"It takes multiple staff, police, paramedics to literally hold them down until you get their treatment," Braud said.
Phoebe officials say Flakka hit Albany in a big way over the last week, with eight patients coming into the Emergency room with powerful hallucinations.
"The amount of medication and the combinations of medications it takes to get these patients sedated for their own safety is often unbelievable," said Braud.
Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit officials say the synthetic stimulate has been seen widely in Florida, but lately moved into South Georgia.
"With 7 or 8 people going to the hospital for this particular drug, that is a major, major concern for me," said A.D.D.U. Commander Major Prurience Dice.
"Unlike a typical patient who requires one nurse, this patient may require the assistance of three or four nurses, a Doctor, a respiratory therapist, technicians, [and] our police staff on campus. It's very challenging," Braud said.
In one incident at Phoebe, police were called to arrest Rayshawn Alexander, who attacked several hospital staff members. Records show he hit a nurse and struck a security officer twice with a chair, as well as damaging expensive hospital equipment. He was charged with aggravated assault, and is now being held in the jail.
"Our staff regularly receives de-escalation techniques, and also healthcare focus tactics and self defense tactics.
There is no doubt working in a hospital whether as a security officer or a nurse on the floor can be challenging," said Jim Maddux, who is the Director of Security at Phoebe.
Last October, a Valdosta woman was accused of shoplifting from Walmart while high on Flakka. Alicia Hall was arrested in the parking lot of the Walmart on Norman Dr. in Valdosta. Police say while an officer was trying to arrest Hall, Hall pulled out a box cutter.
And hospital officials and drug agents say there is no doubt now that Flakka is in Albany, they will see an increase in patients needing help at the hospital.