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Kratom: Appearing In An E.R. Near You

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As if there isn’t enough to worry about with bath salts, and K2, and even household spices such as nutmeg. Now there is Kratom. A plant from Thailand that is widely used for holistic medicinal purposes is finding its way into emergency rooms across the United States.


Kratom is an opiate-like leaf that hails from Southeast Asia and is widely known in the realms of alternative medicines and drug culture. Although in its natural form Kratom is known for its calming effects and is rarely dangerous.  Highly concentrated extracts of the leaf which contain alkaloids are however very dangerous. These risks exponentially increase with addition of sedatives like alcohol.


It is widely used to fight fatigue, pain and depression. People also use it to enhance social interactions as it boosts the user’s confidence. However, now people are trying new ways to get high and they figure this is a “safe” drug, so why not. Unfortunately this backfires and they end up in emergency rooms baffling doctors.


Kratom has been around for thousands of years, in 2005 there were two reported poisonings involving Kratom within the United States, except now, these numbers are increasing. Kratom use is similar to that of bath salts, as law enforcement and the medical community can’t keep up with the “drug culture”, and cannot estimate the use of this plant or eradicate it. It is currently considered a controlled substance in many Southeast Asian countries as well as New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden*.

Side Effects

Long term use of Kratom can lead to an addiction as well as carry some not so pleasant side effects. Anxiety, insomnia, loss of libido, intestinal issues, darkening of skin, are just some of the adverse side effects of long term use. So, you take it to get more confident…and then you are super nervous and can’t sleep. Sound’s like a fair trade off. Although there have been no deaths reported as of yet, there are definitely nasty effects and overdoses are common and scary.

Kratom Overdose and Withdrawal

An overdose on this plant extract includes hallucinations, delusions, listlessness, aggression, tremors, constipation, and nausea. It mimics that of heroin withdrawal. The product being used within the United States is not in its natural form and is being combined with other attributes. There is no telling what’s in it, which is why emergency rooms visits are spiking.

Kratom will more than likely fall in ranks with bath salts, and K2, and Spice, but how many people will have to become violently ill or do crazy newsworthy things, like biting police cars before that happens. It’s up to family and friends to identify risky and addictive behavior and steer them to proper resources. Hopefully people will think twice before trying this obscure drug and won’t end up as a statistic in an emergency room.

*a mixture of substances that contained Kratom was linked to the deaths of nine people in Sweden during 2010-2011. However, it was undetermined as to whether or not Kratom played an actual role in the death or if it was a chemical adulterant that was responsible. 

Posted in Blog, Industry News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments
  • Moniquejsmith

    Comparing Kratom to K2 or bathsalts is rediculous…the biggest reason being is one is completely natural and the other are man made….sort of like comparing weed with crystal meth. And by lumping it together with those drugs you are risking making it illegal for those who use it for holistic medicine, those who don’t abuse it…which is a much larger group of people. Maybe they should ban the extracts but in its natural crushed or powdered form it is a very healthy natural alternative to the man made medicines doctors put people on everyday, where there is far more abuse of and overdosing going on. 

  • JanetHolmeStar

    Meth, heroin, alcohol, marijuana,
    crack, cocaine, pills, uppers, downers, gambling, shopping, etc… is merely a symptom of addiction, it does
    not matter if the abused substance or actions are addictive or not. Weed & meth (any mind altering substance)
    are one in the same when it comes to an addict’s behavior and actions, because
    addiction affects the mind, body, & spirit – it’s not as much about the
    substance as it is about what we do with it. If you are an addict, all these
    things can be abused, used, and overdone.It is not just about the drugs as
    much as it’s the behavior that is happening when we use them. Unfortunately, with
    our society today, more and more kids are abusing natural & man made substances
    because they are “legal” & so called “safe”, as a result, we are seeing
    more kids become addicts at a very early age.

  • Michael Lewis

     Yes lets ban it, So it enters the black market and is in no way regulated and can be adulterated with even worse things. And the whole k2/spice thing i think could be solved by legalizing pot. People resort to the legal alternatives, not because they are better (ask most spice smokers, they will say they prefer real marijuana) but because its legal and easy to obtain. I could see pfizer and other large pharmaceutical companies having problems with kratom as it can lessen the need for prescription pain killers. Ahh the almighty dollar.