Evidence Now Links Kratom to Overdose Deaths
In an age where the legality and use of drugs are heatedly debated, it’s big news when new data comes out regarding a popular drug and the real risks that its use carries. Case in point, there is a new development in the works regarding kratom, a natural, plant-based drug native to Southeast Asia.
What Is Kratom?
The word “kratom” actually refers to the kratom tree, which is found in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo. The leaves of that tree contain pain-relieving properties. They also possess opioid-like effects. The leaves are chewed, dried, smoked, extracted, brewed into tea, or put into capsules by Southeast Asian natives. Use of the drug was quite prevalent in countries where kratom trees grow naturally, but now several of these countries have outlawed the use of kratom due to deaths among residents. The use of kratom within these nations has fallen as a result.
New Data from CDC Research
Much like the marijuana dispute, the U.S. has been the stage upon which a great debate has ensued over kratom. Those who support the drug decry the DEA’s efforts to criminalize it, saying that kratom is a miracle pain reliever that comes without the harsh effects of opioid pain relievers.
At the other end of the spectrum, however, the DEA and FDA have gathered data which paints an entirely different picture of kratom. According to their research, the kratom drug does create risk in its use. It is addictive, mind-altering, habit-forming, and so on.
But it was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that put the last nail in the coffin regarding kratom. It was the CDC which proved that kratom could be fatal.
The CDC published a lengthy research paper on the truth about kratom, sticking only to the facts. Published April 12th, 2019, this report was the first of its kind that pulled away the veneer of uncertainty regarding kratom and which showed this drug for what it truly is—a dangerous, addictive substance.
Out of the entire research paper, the line which delivers the death knell to the argument of the kratom supporters reads:“CDC analyzed overdose deaths in which kratom was detected on postmortem toxicology testing and deaths in which kratom was determined by a medical examiner or coroner to be a cause of death in 11 states during July 2016–June 2017 and in 27 states during July–December 2017. … Kratom was determined cause of death (i.e., kratom-involved) by a medical examiner or coroner for 91 (59.9%) of the 152 kratom-positive decedents, including seven for whom kratom was the only substance to test positive on postmortem toxicology, although the presence of additional substances cannot be ruled out.”