Kids are Using Kratom to Get High and… Detox?
Over the last several years, kratom has become extremely popular in alternative drug culture. The kratom plant grows in Southeast Asia and is said to mimic the effects of opioid drugs. A quick Internet search for this plant turns up hundreds of retailers, most of which are set up by foreign vendors. While the product comes from a natural plant source, that doesn’t make it safe for consumption. Unfortunately, an increased number of teenagers are learning this the hard way.
Retailers claim that kratom is essentially a “miracle” product. For example, many vendors promise that kratom combats fatigue, pain, and depression. Others claim that the leaf is a social and professional enhancer, boosting communication skills and inducing motivation. Despite all the grandiose claims, kratom is most often sold and consumed as an antidote for heroin withdrawal.
Kratom on the DEA’s Radar
With heroin abuse and addiction on the rise, more kratom is being sold to addicts who are looking to keep withdrawals at bay.
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) now officially lists kratom as a “Drug or Chemical of Concern.” With heroin abuse and addiction on the rise, more kratom is being sold to addicts who are looking to keep withdrawals at bay. There is also a spike in kratom-related emergencies across the U.S. Attending ER physicians have been forced to learn more about the drug and how to treat the patients who are sick from ingesting it.
Questions about the Safety of Kratom
One study that calls the safety of kratom into question involves a 43-year-old male admitted to the hospital for generalized tonic-clonic seizures. With a history of opiate addiction, the man hoped to manage opioid withdrawals with powdered kratom he had purchased from an Internet vendor. Over a period of two years, he spent $15,000 on kratom, a sum confirmed by his wife.
Just days after increasing the amount and frequency of kratom use, he experienced a generalized tonic-clonic seizure that lasted more than five minutes.
The man ingested kratom by brewing a tea that contained up to three scoops of the powder. He admitted to drinking one large cup of tea four times each day. In an attempt to further decrease withdrawal symptoms, the patient experimented with higher doses. Just days after increasing the amount and frequency of kratom use, he experienced a generalized tonic-clonic seizure that lasted more than five minutes.
Does Kratom Really Help the Detox Process?
Though kratom is said to fool the brain by mimicking the effects of more potent opiates and other mind-altering drugs, no research has been able to substantiate this claim. What’s more, the dosages being used by people looking to detox or get high are much higher than what is normally recommended. Side effects can cause include nausea, dizziness, constipation, hallucinations, and severe delusions. In larger doses, kratom has a highly sedating effect and may suppress respiration to the point of death.
Related: How Improperly Detoxing Can Kill You
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