“…the FDA has a science-based obligation that supersedes popular trends and relies on evidence…There is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder.”
~ Dr. Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration
On November 14th, the FDA issued an official warning, telling consumers not to use kratom as a means of self-treating opioid withdrawal. The Drug Enforcement Agency has also asked the FDA for an official medical and scientific evaluation, so a scheduling recommendation can be made.
Currently, Kratom is on the DEA’s “Drugs of Concern” list, which identifies those substances that, while they are not scheduled by the Controlled Substances Act, are still believed to “pose risks to people who abuse them.”
First Things First—What is Kratom?
Kratom, is a plant native to Thailand and Malaysia that is widely sold in the US in convenience stores, truck stops “head shops”, and online as a “safe and legal” recreational alternative to both opioids and methamphetamines.
Moreover, when sold as a supplement, it is advertised as a remedy to opioid and alcohol withdrawal, allowing addicts to safely kick the habit.
Is Kratom Dangerous?
Part of the reason the FDA issued its public health advisory is because there have been at least 36 deaths linked to kratom. And, rather than support kratom as a safe alternative to other drugs, the FDA statement read:
“Evidence shows that kratom has similar effects to narcotics like opioids and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and in some cases, death.”
Will Kratom Be Banned?
Because of this press release from the FDA Commissioner, it’s reasonable to assume that the more in-depth official FDA evaluation probably won’t be favorable. If this is the case, then a currently-delayed ban might be back on. In August 2016, the DEA had this to say:
“…Kratom has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. These three factors constitute a Schedule I controlled substance according to the Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress in 1970.”
The DEA had asked for a ban last year, but decided to wait or the FDA’s evaluation before any final decision.
What’s the Bottom Line About Kratom?
Right now, Kratom is a trend—there are ALWAYS substances being touted as “safe” and “legal”, when they are neither of those. The evidence is clear—kratom IS dangerous and SHOULD NOT be part of a sober lifestyle.
Lasting Recovery is a premier outpatient drug rehab in San Diego. If you need help, contact Lasting Recovery to learn how to SAFELY recover from opioid addiction.
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