Use of kratom, a psychoactive plant, is becoming increasingly popular despite its potential for addiction, according to an expert at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
“What we’re seeing is regular use of it, especially in adolescents and young adults,” said Dr. Martin Seppala, Chief Medical Officer. “It fits in with alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. It’s legal, so it’s really easy for kids to get a hold of, and they’ll try it to see what it does to them.”
Kratom is legal in most states, and is available in many convenience stores, gas stations and head shops, USA Today reports.
In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to use kratom, a plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asian countries. The FDA said it is concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose people to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence.