Prescription drug abuse rates are rapidly increasing in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it is responsible for the consumption of 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs. Abuse of prescription drugs occurs who the drug is taken in a manner other than its intended purpose such as to get high.
Prescription drug abuse can take over someone's life if help isn't found. It doesn’t have to be this way though. For those who are struggling with prescription drug abuse and addiction, help is only a phone call away.
America’s war on drugs is getting bigger than ever. For a long time, the nation has been fighting drug abuse, overdoses and deaths. Along the same lines, Americans are also waging a war against the legalization of drugs in some states. For instance, marijuana, once considered to be the most lethal drug, is now legalized for medicinal purpose in 24 American states and Washington, D.C.
Now, lawmakers and people have a difference of opinion over widely used drug kratom. While some find the drug to be a new ray of hope for opioid addicts, others advocate a complete prohibition due to its addictive nature.
It is known that kratom helps get people off drugs, but it has been on the radar of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for quite some time now. Kratom has gained popularity in South Florida in the recent years. It is obtained from a tree, native to Southeast Asia, with botanical name Mitragyna speciosa. It has been a popular local medicine and is used as a stimulant (small doses), sedative (at high doses), painkiller, anti-arthritis medicine, recreational drug, for treatment of diarrhea, and even for opiate addiction. Its use is also associated with improved concentration and mood enhancement.
Despite being the most popular drug in its indigenous land, the drug has received significant disapprovals from the U.S. government. The reason could be the sedative properties associated with kratom and the potential harm it may cause.
The FDA exercises control over its distribution and prohibits its marketing as a health product due to its alkaloid content, though it can be sold as a research compound.
Following the ban imposed by the FDA, the U.S. authorities detained dietary supplements worth $400,000 from Illinois-based Dordoniz Natural Products containing kratom in January 2016. At present, the leaf is considered to be a “botanical dietary supplement” and cannot be totally proscribed — yet the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still categorizes it as the “drug of concern.”
According to a recent bill passed in the Florida House, selling or using the controversial substance is a first-degree offence.
Kratom is widely used by heroin addicts who find the drug to be calming and relaxing. The drug also has some stimulating properties, similar to caffeine, in contrast to opioids, which mostly act as sedatives. But the most remarkable difference between kratom and the rest of opioids is the risk of overdose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid overdose deaths rose to a staggering 28,647 in 2014, while most of the kratom-linked deaths in the same year involved abuse of multiple drugs. Cessation of breathing is not the primary cause behind kratom (mixture)-related deaths which is the major cause in opioid overdose deaths.
Oliver Grundmann, clinical associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Florida, who recently reviewed the research on kratom for the International Journal of Legal Medicine, said, “Direct kratom overdoses from the life-threatening respiratory depression that usually occurs with opioid overdoses have not been reported. It could be since kratom tea and powders are frequently nausea-inducing, especially when given in high doses.”
However, in the absence of alternative drugs to combat withdrawal, many users may probably return to the opioid dens. Danaiel Fabricant, director, CEO, Natural Products Association, said, “The FDA did not issue a ban as it did for ephedra, but the import ban on kratom is pretty clear. With that said, while it is not ‘banned’ it certainly isn’t legal. We don’t have a position on kratom per se; our position is that companies ought to abide by the law.”
If you or your loved one is struggling to get rid of an opioid or any other addiction, get in touch with the Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline for immediate medical assistance. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-922-5915 or chat online to know about various prescription abuse treatment centers in Colorado.