What is Kratom? And can it really help with opioid addiction?
Kratom is hailed by many as a miracle supplement, sold as pills, tea or powder, that allegedly can cure pain, fatigue, anxiety and opioid addiction. However, the claims made by Kratom users have been unsubstantiated. In fact, the FDA and federal government have said that they believe Kratom is dangerous due to the similarities it shares with opioids and its habit-forming properties.
Kratom comes from a tree native to southeast Asia. Technically, it is a member of the coffee family, but its leaves contain properties that act on opioid receptors in the brain. While the FDA says that kratom carries similar risks of abuse and addiction and has been linked to overdose deaths, its advocates say the risks have been blown out of proportion by health officials and that kratom can be used to help addicts wean themselves off harmful opioids. Kratom’s use to help opioid addicts has not been FDA approved and could actually end up keeping patients from seeking the real, lifesaving treatment they need to recover from addiction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kratom use has become increasingly popular in recent years and has been present in a shocking 91 fatal overdoses. The problem stems from companies marketing Kratom to “cure” addiction and other ailments, online and in stores. Some states have even gone so far to create bans on Kratom as a precautionary measure to prevent addiction. Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Wisconsin, and Sarasota County, FL., have all made the sale and possession of Kratom illegal.
Not only is kratom addictive and can lead to its own set of withdrawal symptoms, but kratom is also known to cause severe negative side effects to those who abuse it long term. When people use Kratom daily, it can cause decreased appetite, weight loss, and severe depression as well as psychosis, hallucinations and delusions.
The bottom line is that using Kratom is dangerous, and you truly don’t know what you are using. This makes it no better than any other street drug that may be contaminated with fentanyl or other dangerous chemicals.
Using Kratom to try to get off dangerous street drugs is not safe and could cause more harm to your mind and body. The best way to get off of drugs and restart your life is by entering treatment as soon as possible. If you are struggling with addiction, whether it’s to heroin, cocaine or kratom, entering treatment will help save your life.