Expert Warns of Kratom Dangers

Original Post by: Andre Senior

Warning about plant-based painkiller Kratom

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A warning for parents about a drug called Kratom. It's an over-the-counter drug that can give users a morphine-like high.

Kratom, which is legal in most states including Virginia and North Carolina, has been around for years as a dietary supplement and is billed as a way to treat pain or increase alertness and physical energy.

The dynamic effects surprised Gayle Scott, an assistant professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

"Kratom is the only drug that I can think of that has two very different pharmacological effects depending on dose," said Scott.

Kratom, sold in powder or capsule form, "produces stimulant effects with users reporting increased alertness, physical energy, talkativeness and social behavior," when taken in low doses, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"Very high doses alone theoretically, it could have an affect like morphine," advises Scott , who's been a pharmacist for nearly 38 years. "If used chronically, it is addictive. You can have withdrawal symptoms just like you would if you were withdrawing from heroin."

Since Kratom is sold at head shops across Hampton Roads, 13News Now went into one store and bought a 30-gram package for $20. To get those feelings of euphoria, people have to use more than 15 grams.

The danger became real for one family. In May 2015, John Eden, a Navy intelligence student in the Atlanta area, committed suicide. In the note he left behind, the 22-year-old cited drug addiction. Bags of Kratom were found in his apartment.

"I really believe in my heart he did not know what he was doing. He thought this stuff was safe and it just spiraled out of control," said his father.

The Drug Enforcement Agency concludes there is "no legitimate medical use for Kratom" and has it on the list of "Drugs and Chemicals of Concern."

The Food and Drug Administration also has serious concerns about Kratom.

"I'm concerned that people, particularly college-age kids and even minors, are using it and may not use good sense with it," Scott added.

Only two states make it illegal to possess Kratom -- Tennessee and Indiana.

Showing 2 reactions

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  • commented 2016-08-29 07:07:23 -0400
    This report is absolutely ridiculous. Speaking from experience, as a recovering heroin addict, Kratom is not even close to morphine or heroin in potency. It’s not even close to codeine. I don’t know for sure though, maybe if someone consumed, like 200 grams or something. But, that is ridiculous. It help mitigate withdrawal symptoms when I quit heroin and the effective dose was around 5-10 grams. I weigh 240 lbs. Now I use it to mitigate Arthritis pain in my hips and legs. Please leave this useful plant off the controlled substance list. It is no more addictive than coffee. Do proper research before jumping to conclusions.
  • commented 2016-05-27 21:12:38 -0400
    Saying that kratom has a “morphine-like high” is like saying that aspirin also produces a high similar to heroin. They’re both painkillers, but that’s where the similarity stops. It’s a matter of degree.

    It should be illegal to lie and exaggerate like this to the public who expect better from the media.

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