In Southeast Asia, the Mitragyna speciosa tree is native. When residents pick and chew those leaves, the plant and the drug in the leaves are called by its common name, kratom. This addictive drug is heavily abused in Southeast Asia and recently became illegal in Thailand. Americans have been able to obtain this drug since 2012. As of 2018, it is not illegal across the U.S. but it is banned or classified as a controlled substance in several states such as Tennesee, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has classified this drug as a New Psychoactive Substance (NPS) along with ketamine, khat (another plant), mephedrone and several other synthetic or plant-based drugs.
The UNODC created this special class of drug to address the worldwide situation regarding this growing category. In the 2013 World Drug Report, the UNODC said: “While new harmful substances have been emerging with unfailing regularity on the drug scene, the international drug control system is floundering, for the first time, under the speed and creativity of the phenomenon known as new psychoactive substances (NPS).”
What they mean is that laws outlawing these new dangerous drugs are not able to keep up with the speed at which they are appearing on the international scene. In the meantime, web-based sales site are often being used to distribute these drugs while instructional websites tell people how to use them to maximum effect. Smoke shops, convenience stores, “head shops” and other small stores sell these drugs in many cities—at least until they are outlawed.
Kratom May be Legal but it is Also Addictive
The websites that describe how to smoke, ingest or make tea and drink this drug sometimes mention the fact that it can be addictive. The sales sites, of course, never mention this fact. But the Drug Enforcement Administration has covered this point thoroughly in the information it has published for law enforcement personnel. “Kratom consumption can lead to addiction,” their report says. The DEA notes that some people using this drug have experienced psychotic episodes that included severe confusion and hallucinations.
Because the potency of kratom can vary from one batch to the next, it is difficult to control one’s dosage. An overdose can trigger delusions, tremors, prolonged nausea with vomiting, and delusional, combative behavior. It can also depress respiration. If kratom is mixed with another drug that also depresses respiration (alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines), the combination could be fatal.
Kratom also presents dangers by reducing one’s ability to focus. A person who abuses kratom and experiences a heightened awareness may then drive or operate tools or machinery, but the heightened awareness could suddenly be replaced by sleepiness. Children in one’s care may be endangered because of the euphoric dreaminess, lethargy, paranoia or delusions that could occur.
Getting Off Kratom for Good
With some help, a person who is addicted could get clean and sober but unless he truly reshapes his life, recovers his responsibility and finds relief from both cravings and guilt, he is very likely to relapse into the use of one or another drug.
The Narconon drug rehab program addresses all these points and many others. A thorough detoxification, followed by counseling and life skills training, enable a person in a drug program to see things in a whole new light so they can live an enjoyable, productive life again.
With fundamental changes under his belt, the person in recovery can begin to learn how to make sober choices, even in challenging situations. When a person gets help to strip off the multiple layers of damage that have occurred, the real personality comes out again—the person who wants to survive well, who truly cares about his family and community. The family has that bright person back, the one who had so much potential.
If you care about someone who has become addicted to kratom or any drug, call Narconon today and find out how we can help.