Kratom Popularity on the Rise in South Florida

Kratom, used as a medicinal plant in some countries in Southeast Asia, is increasingly popular as a drug of abuse in South Florida, the Sun Sentinel reports. The drug is available online, and at tobacco and head shops, the newspaper notes. Some people use it recreationally, while others use it for pain relief, or as a treatment for depression and other ailments. It is also used by some people as a substitute for heroin, prescription painkillers or opium.

“It’s very easy to get,” said Nancy Steiner, founder of The Sanctuary, a transitional living facility for people in recovery from chemical dependency in Delray Beach, Florida. “It’s not just a problem for the recovery community, but it’s in high schools and colleges. It’s a mass problem.”

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), kratom is mainly being abused orally as a tea, but some people chew kratom leaves. Kratom has been described as producing both stimulant and sedative effects. Acute side effects include nausea, itching, sweating, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination and loss of appetite. Kratom consumption can lead to addiction, according to the DEA.

The agency notes that while kratom is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act, there is no legitimate medical use for kratom in the U.S.

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    Tom Stevens

    October 11, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    I can say from personal experience that kratom has helped save my life. I was a chronic heroin user for years and couldnt stay clean if my life depended on it, and it very much does. people are dying left and right, our brothers,sisters,fathers,and mothers, and there needs to be something done about it. Legalizing yet another drug is certainly not the answer. Kratom is the safest and healthiest alternative to opiate use and it helped me to finally detox and quit. I tried things like suboxone and methadone and never had much success. The half life of those is longer than heroin so it stays in your system for a while and detoxing from those is very miserable. I found kratom to not have many detox symptoms at all, it was relatively painless. My life since has been great and I would recommend this to anyone who is struggling with opiod dependency. The lifestyle that comes along with addiction is truly hell on earth and I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.

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    May 25, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Interesting debate…I just heard about it as an alterantive to back pain and my pain meds. Thanks for the debate!

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    December 6, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    I agree with Andrew. Kratom is no more harmful than caffeine and its natural medicinal uses for depression, anxiety and pain relief is a miracle for those suffering from such ailments. Please educate yourself DEA before stating such nonsense. Just lost a bit of respect for the DEA and the Drug Partnership for spreading such false information. Not a single death attributed to Kratom and many many people benefiting greatly from this natural plant.

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    December 4, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I am very concerned with this article that is filled with lies and misrepresentations about Mitragyna speciosa, otherwise known as Kraotm. This plant has a history of use for several thousand years and has not been associated with a single death, arrest or serious public health issue that endangers society in all of that time. Why not focus your attention on the prescription pill addiction epidemic, since pills are easier and easier to obtain every year and cause THOUSANDS OF DEATHS per year, while Kratom is responsibly used by many adults in the U.S. and beyond with no problems.

    It is about as addictive as coffee and very easy to stop if one wants to. Its psychoactivity is comparable to that of Kava-Kava or Yohimbe and thus it is not a plant that people use to “get high.” It truly is a harmless plant that helps many people who have pain and social-anxiety issues while have few to no side effects.

    Does the government really need to spend even more money (that it doesn’t have) to declare a war on a natural plant with no serious risk to society while hard drugs are increasingly prevalent and still causing major issues? The answer is NO. Please wake up people and learn the truth about this plant.

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