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Kratom: Natural pain remedy or addictive killer?

Updated: Feb 14, 2018

By Laurie McGinley and Katie Zezima February 10, 2018

[Washington Post ]

Andrew Turner’s years in the military left him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, back pain and the effects of an injury that mangled his hand. “I was a broken toy,” he said. Tossed aside. Barely able to get off the couch.

Then he started using an herbal supplement that he says saved his life: kratom.

Nancy Knoebel’s 27-year-old son, Daniel Teichman, began using kratom after he stopped taking medication to treat his heroin addiction. But he was having withdrawal symptoms, so he turned to an herbal remedy. Within a few months, Knoebel’s son was dead from what a medical examiner determined were the “toxic effects” of kratom.

“If kratom hadn’t killed him, he’d be alive and sober,” Knoebel said. “It was like someone ran a red light and killed him.”

Rapidly rising in popularity, kratom is hailed as a readily available pain remedy that is safer than traditional opioids such as oxycodone, an effective addiction withdrawal aid and a pleasurable recreational tonic. Kratom also is assailed as a dangerous and unregulated drug that can be purchased on the internet, a habit-forming substance that authorities say can result in opioid-like abuse and death.

Now, the compound is at the center of an acrimonious battle on social media, in federal agencies and at all levels of government — a fight over whether kratom could help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic or make it dramatically worse.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is weighing whether to place kratom, which comes from a leafy Southeast Asian tree, in the same category of illegal drugs as heroin. It’s the second time the agency has tried to curb access to kratom, delaying a final decision in 2016 after an outcry from the public, dozens of members of Congress and a demonstration at the White House.

This time, the DEA is getting high-profile support for a crackdown from the Food and Drug Administration, which has repeatedly warned about the dangers of the substance and says it has identified 44 deaths associated with its use since 2011. On Tuesday, the agency said the new computer model it developed shows kratom contains... [ CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE ]


[CURATED CONTENT: Written By Laurie McGinley and Katie Zezima , February 10, 2018 - originally published on]







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