There is a real war on opioid drugs in the United States: while the authorities are looking for a way to stop the avalanche of overdose deaths, Indonesia is finding its controversial way to help by supplying Americans with a herbal analgesic — Kratom. The herbal supplement-and it is under this name that the products from this plant are sold-brings long-awaited relief to millions of dependent Americans. It can save the United States from a wave of drug-related deaths, but it is being prepared to be outlawed.
Is kratom salvation?
Since the age of 19, the woman has undergone three dozen operations, she has prescribed so many different opioids that they caused addiction, and the pain did not go away. Because of the rods in her spine, she could not laugh or cough usually, and traveling in a car was also a torment. Tim begged for death, tried to mix drugs with heroin; her medical card read: “Trying to get drugs.” She tried Kratom on the advice of a friend as a last resort and eventually stopped depending on opioids. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of similar stories in the United States: from 3 to 5 million kratom consumers in the country.
Kratom is easy to buy in the store
The leaves of Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, a tree from the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, have been used for hundreds of years in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and neighboring countries. Local farmers believe that chewing them improves mood and energizes: the effect is generally similar to the stimulating effect of caffeine. In large doses, it can cause euphoria.
Kratom is called a natural alternative to artificial analgesics: it helps to cope with chronic pain and the consequences of withdrawal syndrome, giving up opioids and even heroin without any problems. Dry leaves can be brewed as a tea. A powder mixed with water or some kind of smoothie and taken in kratom capsules is also popular. Usually, the effect of Kratom manifests itself within an hour and lasts for two to four hours. The systematic method of use is smoking; in this case, the result is displayed worst.
Over the past decade, Kratom has spread to the United States. Unlike the regulated sphere of sales of highly addictive and addictive drugs, it is freely available in 44 states. You can easily buy kratom in the smoking accessories store or order it in one click from the online store. There is also a “herbal supplement” in private supermarkets. It is not only easy to get it, but it is also relatively cheap: 30 grams cost about $ 15, and this volume is enough for at least 20 receptions.
Kratom is almost legalized
Anyway, in recent years, the confrontation has reached a new level: people have learned about Kratom at the very top. Now they have to defend the benefits of the plant not by protests on the streets but before state legislators and members of Congress. Sometimes, if not wholly, it is possible to convince the deputies and then soften their position.
For example, in Michigan, Senator Rick Jones initially favored a complete ban on Kratom. Still, after negotiations with the American Kratom Association, he promoted a more compromise version of the bill in the region. The new document suggests prohibiting the sale of products from this plant to citizens under the age of 18, banning the mixing of Kratom with other substances, and allowing the sale only in natural, not modified in laboratories.
If such measures are promoted not only at the local but also at the federal level, it will be almost a victory for those who support Kratom. In the meantime, the main obstacle to “cleaning the reputation” of the plant remains the lack of official studies of the effectiveness of drugs: if they were conducted, it was only on animals. Kratom has never been tested in humans and placebos or proven substances; no one has studied its interaction with other drugs and side effects.
It is necessary to collect such data, but until they are available, the scope of kratom distribution will either remain in the shadows or will be regulated by ambiguous laws. And then the Americans who have found relief in Kratom will again have to return to opiates and dependence on them. It’s hard to say whether this will make someone feel better.