Everyone has heard of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Most people also know of PCP, ecstasy (MDMA), and prescription drugs. However, what is kratom? Something that most people do not think of or consider is the fact that these drugs, at some point were unknown. Simple plants were discovered, chemicals added together, and manipulated to achieve a desired effect on the human brain and emotions. Most of these drugs started off as a solution to a problem. No known bad effects or bad intentions. However, with time and increased use among the population, the effects have become known
. At what point, do we see the destruction of these drugs and add them to the list of well-known drugs seen above? When do we decide that addiction to these chemicals causes damage to the user and those around them? When do we decide that these unknown concoctions are spreading and deserve the notoriety that the listed drugs above now have?
What is Kratom?
Kratom is one of these plants that some, including the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), are looking to make illegal in the United States. In other words, they want to add it to the well-known list of drugs to avoid. Kratom is a southeast Asia native, a tropical tree that has been used by the indigenous people for many years, for many different reasons.
It is in the same family as the coffee tree and contains alkaloids that are similar to opiate receptor agonists. When used in low doses it sometimes has stimulant properties and in high doses it has sedative effects. However, the dose and each individual user determine the effects. People can simply chew on a leaf from the tree and feel the effects, it can also be turned into a powder and consumed, some people use the leaves to make a tea, and also made into capsules.
Kratom has similar effects to that of opioids, including heroin. These effects usually last about five and a half hours. These include constricted pupils, a sense of calm, some nausea, sweating, itching, and the other more euphoric ones also associated with opioids. People can also develop a tolerance and become addicted to Kratom just like opiates. Since they both affect the opioid receptors in the brain this also causes tolerance to opioids such as pain medication and heroin. Those who develop an addiction to Kratom appear similar to heroin addicts and go through similar withdrawal symptoms if they stop using.
The Legality of Kratom
Kratom is already illegal in five other countries and in six states in America including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The DEA wishes to make Kratom illegal in the entire United States and make it a Schedule 1 drug, the same as heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. They are currently waiting on more studies and definitive information from the FDA and Congress is allowing time for public comments on the subject.
For several years, Kratom has been on the DEA’s list of drugs and chemicals of concern and its known use has been on the rise. Law enforcement continues to seize more and more Kratom. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) says that U.S. poison control centers received 263 calls about Kratom in 2015, which was ten times greater than just 5 years earlier, and in those five years a total of 660 calls related to kratom exposure.
There are known Kratom related deaths and those numbers will only increase as the notoriety of this drug continues to grow. More and more people learn about the drug and it doesn’t help that U.S. companies are promoting it as a legal high. This status has made it popular among teenagers because they cannot yet buy alcohol and they do not want to get caught with illegal drugs. The United Nations Office of Drug and Crimes has placed Kratom in a newly-defined class of drugs called New Psychoactive Substances. In other words, this is a class of legal drugs that produce similar effects of illicit drugs.
Additional Resources & Treatment Help
The regions where the plant is found, where it has been used for years and is well known have already made it illegal. Doesn’t this fact speak a great volume to those people advocating and selling Kratom? If the region has made it illegal, why do we treat it with such a carefree attitude? These countries have seen the long-term effects of the drug with some being psychosis, darkening of the facial skin, and weight loss.
If you’re still asking “What is Kratom?” or if you need of Kratom addiction treatment, Recovery Ways in Salt Lake City, Utah can help. Our admission coordinators can review your benefits, provide expert advice on rehab options, and walk you through the entire admission process. If you’re ready to make a change and live a live free of kratom addiction, we are here. To assist with your addiction treatment, we offer: