Police in Florida say a Fort Lauderdale man who was hospitalized after allegedly streaking in the street this past weekend was high on a street drug called "flakka."
Matthew Kenney, 35, was taken into custody this weekend after he allegedly ran down West Broward Boulevard wearing only sneakers. This quickly got the attention of law enforcement. Video of Kenney's run through the neighborhood shows him weaving around police cruisers.
"It appeared to me that he was playing with them," Jesse Grace, who shot the footage, told WSVN. "Like he was trying to get them to follow him."
Once they caught Kenney, officers said that the man told them he was afraid he was being pursued by people who had stolen his clothes. He told officers that he was trying to get hit by a car, "because if I got hit by a car they would stop chasing me."
He told police that he would "rather die than be caught" by his shadowy pursuers, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Cops took Kenney to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Kenney, who has been arrested multiple times since December on possession of a controlled substance charges, later told police that he'd smoked flakka right before his streaking episode.
Flakka is a street drug with an amphetamine-like ingredient that causes paranoia and the perception of super-human strength, according to Business Insider. It's been compared to bath salts, and has been reported several times in Florida since March 2014. It's also popped up in Ohio and Texas.
Doctors at Broward Health Medical Center told WSVN that what makes the street drug so troubling is that no one can be sure exactly what's in it.
"Their brains tell them that there's something going on where there may be nothing going on," said Dr. Nabil El Sanadi told the station. "They have hallucinations, they may think that people are after them."
The Sun Sentinel reports that that the drug has been implicated in several disturbing incidents in South Florida this year, including:
...A naked gunman on a Lake Worth rooftop yelling that someone was trying to kill him, a man trying to kick in a glass door at the Fort Lauderdale police station because he thought he was being chased by a mob, another who impaled himself when he attempted to scale a security fence at the Fort Lauderdale station because he was trying to escape murderers, and yet another who left a trail of blood after attacking an 82-year-old Riviera Beach woman in her home.