Kratom is a drug that’s been in the news off and on for years as the US Federal government has grappled with it. Some people describe it as a godsend for their addiction, physical ailments, and mental health symptoms. The truth, however, is much murkier. Certainly, kratom is a drug that the FDA wants to outlaw and believes can be harmful, dangerous, and addictive.
Why Do People Take Kratom?
In the past few years, many people have switched from opioid use to taking kratom, describing its use as an “at home” treatment for opioid withdrawal. However, the truth is that it tends to have similar effects as an opioid, especially when people continue to use it.
Kratom was once used in South Asian communities as an alternative to opium during a time of crisis. As opium addiction ravaged families, it was turned to as a solution for addiction. However, for many people, kratom was another addiction. In the 1940s, it became a replacement drug in Southeast Asian countries as opium dried up. Because it seemed to continue to feed the addiction, some countries outlawed it.
The Kratom Act, which passed in 1943, made planting new trees of it in Thailand illegal. The government destroyed all existing plants. In many countries, the growing, buying, and selling of kratom is unlawful, and there are heavy penalties for it, like every narcotic.
Kratom’s Legal Status and Dangers
The FDA believes that kratom is addictive, but they have not yet banned its sale or use.
People in the chronic pain community advocate for kratom to be legal and available to everyone. They say it helps them with everything from depression to leg cramps or stomach pain. However, there are few studies on its safety and efficacy.
As kratom has grown more popular in the US, its murky legal status has been questioned. There are hundreds of calls every year to poison control about the substances. Treatment centers have also started to see an uptick of people addicted to it. The withdrawal symptoms are similar to the ones people have from opioid withdrawal.
Overdoses from the substance are also deadly and have been rising steadily, with over 90 known kratom-involved overdoses in 2016-2017. People who have had adverse reactions also have had experiences such as seizures, trouble breathing, and heart issues. An overdose can cause problems in almost any part of a victim’s body, especially neurologically.
The most troubling thing about kratom is that it’s not been outlawed, even though the FDA has been making moves to do so. For example, they recently created an Import Alert on the importation of supplements containing it. Authorities can seize anything with kratom in it and keep it from reaching the buyer.
Getting Help for Addiction
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