Monday, November 20th, 2017

Kratom Use


Kratom Use

The latest in a line of “legal” drugs to hit US markets is a drug called Kratom. Kratom use is quickly becoming a problem in some parts of the country. Kratom is synthesized from an opiate-like leaf of a tree grown in Southwest Asia, and its sale is legal in the United States. Its effects are similar to heroin and prescription painkillers like oxycodone and it can be more dangerous than illicit drugs.

Kratom has long been used for medicinal purposes in places like Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Kratom can be smoked, chewed or broken down into an herbal tea. Some people use it as a stimulant in order to improve their sexual activity or to treat pain. Kratom use can also be effective in treating withdrawal from opiates such as heroin or morphine.

Recently, kratom has become very readily available in the United States. You can buy it in tobacco shops, over the Internet, or at Kava Bars. The drug is most often sold in powder form which either comes in a capsule to be swallowed or can be mixed with apple sauce or tea and consumed.  Estimated use of the drug is impossible, but emergency-room related visits due to kratom use seem to be increasing.

Side Effects

Kratom is unique in that at a low to moderate dose will usually (but not always) be stimulating, while a high dose is almost always sedating. The side effects of kratom use are similar to stronger opiates like heroin and can include:

•             Nausea

•             loss of libido

•             dryness of mouth

•             increase or decrease urination

•             vomiting and prolonged sleep

•             anorexia and weight loss

•             insomnia

Public Concern

Every few months, it seems, teens and 20-somethings are looking for a new “safe” way to get high. Kava, synthetic cannabis, bath salts, and kratom are just the most recent way manufacturers have tried to tap into this trend. And, as with the other “legal” drugs that are hitting the market, doctors and scientists are playing catch-up. So kratom use in the United States is still legal and unregulated. Substance abuse counselors are reporting an increased number of people checking into treatment facilities for kratom addiction, and say they’ve treated patients who prefer kratom to heroin. And kratom was recently included on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of “drugs and chemicals of concern.” If they determine that kratom is a public health risk, it will likely be outlawed.

Drug addicts and those in the rehab community seem particularly prone to use or try kratom at one point or another. Many opiate addicts will use kratom to treat heroin withdrawal when they can’t get heroin or prescription painkillers. Those living in sober living environments or people on parole or probation engage in kratom use instead of using heroin because they know it won’t show up on a drug test. And although you can test for kratom, it is expensive and most facilities have yet to include it on a standard drug screening. Unfortunately, when people that are in recovery and they use drugs like kratom, they often go straight back to using heroin or prescription painkillers.