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Kratom: The Newest Designer Drug


It is called Kratom, but it also goes by the names Thomand, Ketum, Ithang, and Kakuam, and it is the lasted designer drug to enter into the U.S. market. Although it has been around for 10 years, it is just now making its way into the United States. It is a plant found in Thailand—although now the sale of it there can result in up to a 2 year jail sentence. Like Bath Salts and Spice, Kratom is hard to categorize in any one class of drugs. It is a combination of uppers and downers with psychoactive side effects. The drug is ground up and brewed into a tea. Mitragynine is the active ingredient in Kratom and it works by partially activating the brain’s opioid receptors while causing side effects like those of cocaine. The short term effects include fatigue, vomiting and nausea.

Similar to the once legal synthetic drugs such as Spice or Bath Salts, Kratom can be found in gas stations and convenience stores. It is this ease and accessibility with which one can obtain them that leads many to underestimate the dangers of these drugs. People assume that these designer drugs are no more harmful than the caffeine pills and energy drinks that they are sold next to. It doesn’t help that websites that sell Kratom state that the plant is in the same family as the coffee tree. The truth is we do not yet know how harmful or safe Kratom is—and therein lies the danger. There was one case of a man in his early 20’s in Ireland who died of respiratory issues—Kratom was one of the drugs found in his system. It is our ignorance of the short term and long term effects of Kratom and how it interacts with other drugs that is so frightening.

One a federal level, the designer drug Kratom has yet to be regulated, although the DEA has placed it on its “Drugs and Chemicals of Concern” list. Several states have enacted or are in the process of enacting laws that would make the possession of Kratom illegal.

If you suspect that you or someone you love may have a problem with Kratom, or any other mood altering substance, call Recovering Souls today. Recovering Souls is a drug and alcohol treatment placement service. We specialize in finding treatment for men, women and teens needing help. Our services are no cost to you. You can reach us 24/7 by calling 1-800-832-5250.

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Nick Cirio