Use and abuse of opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine, have been on the rise in the United States. The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 47,500 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017 alone.
And now there’s a new drug to add to the mix: kratom. This drug has led to the deaths of many Americans, and it has caused severe reactions in many others. It has its backers, though, who claim the drug can ease pain and reduce cravings for opioids.
Richard E. Repass, MD, at Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment dedicates his vast experience and skills helping people understand and overcome their addictions. When it comes to kratom, he can tell you everything you need to know about its effects, its legal status, the latest research, and how to treat dependency on the drug.
Facts about kratom
Kratom is a drug derived from a plant found in Southeast Asia. Because kratom is in the coffee family, it’s marketed as a dietary supplement that can boost energy, like caffeine. However, there are many important facts you may not know.
Kratom is addictive. In high doses, it acts just like opioids and changes the way your brain responds, making it crave more of the drug.
Kratom is not yet a controlled substance, because it’s relatively new and still being studied. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has listed it as a “drug of concern,” and the agency is working toward classifying it as an illegal, Schedule 1 drug. In fact, a few states have already banned it.
The DEA has reported more than 1,800 calls regarding kratom use or exposure. Of the overdose deaths reported between July, 2016 and December, 2017, 152 tested positive for kratom.
Is there any good in kratom?
The main reason kratom proponents want to keep kratom available to consumers is their claim that kratom can help some opioid addicts find a way out of their addiction. Because kratom is not an opioid, some take it as a substitute to ease their symptoms and allow them to decrease their dependence on opioids. However, kratom is itself an addictive substance, so it’s a delicate dance that can easily go wrong.
Proponents say that keeping kratom available to the public can:
- Promote further clinical research into the substance
- Allow a flow of information to educate consumers
- Prevent forcing it into the black market, where purity and safety can become an issue
In an ideal world, those arguments might stand. However, pharmaceutical corporations, politicians, anti-drug groups, and kratom enthusiasts all have stakes in the fate of the substance, and altruistic motives to keep kratom safe and well-researched may fall by the wayside in the battle over money and control.
What bad can come from kratom?
Although the kratom-related deaths are sobering, those who don’t die from it can experience a host of dangerous effects, including:
- Respiratory depression
- Loss of libido
- Skin hyperpigmentation
- Severe withdrawal
Clearly, at this point, the risks outweigh the unverified potential benefits of kratom.
How can you kick the kratom habit?
If you’ve experimented with kratom because you thought it was a harmless herbal supplement only to find yourself unable to stop taking it, there’s hope. Dr. Repass approaches kratom dependence differently from opioid addiction because they’re two distinct conditions.
Kratom is known to rob the brain of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), an essential chemical that regulates your nerves, repairs your DNA, and helps your body produce energy. Dr. Repass replenishes your NAD supply over the course of about two weeks. During each daily session, you receive an intravenous infusion of BR+NAD™, which increases your NAD and decreases your kratom cravings.
If you or a loved one is suffering from kratom dependency, get help by booking an appointment over the phone with Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment today.