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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    View attachment 47796 DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Three shaky months into recovery from heroin addiction, Dariya Pankova found something to ease her withdrawal. A local nonalcoholic bar sold a brewed beverage that soothed her brain and body much as narcotics had. A perfect solution — before it backfired.

    Ms. Pankova grew addicted to the beverage itself. She drank more and more, awakened her cravings for the stronger high of heroin, and relapsed. Only during another stay in rehab did Ms. Pankova learn that the drink’s primary ingredient, a Southeast Asian leaf called kratom, affects the brain like an opiate and can be addictive, too.

    “It’s preying on the weak and the broken,” said Ms. Pankova, 23, a Brooklyn native who received treatment in Delray Beach. “It’s a mind-altering substance, so people like me who are addicts and alcoholics, they think just because it’s legal, it’s fine. It’s a huge epidemic down here, and it’s causing a lot of relapses.”

    Some users embrace kratom as a natural painkiller and benign substitute for more dangerous substances that, in most states, is legal. But its growing popularity and easy availability are raising concerns among substance abuse experts and government officials who say it is being furtively marketed as a way out of addiction, even though it is itself addictive. Worse, some of those experts say, kratom can lead some addicts back to heroin, which is cheaper and stronger.

    “It’s a fascinating drug, but we need to know a lot more about it,” said Dr. Edward W. Boyer, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a co-author of several scientific articles on kratom. “Recreationally or to self-treat opioid dependence, beware — potentially you’re at just as much risk” as with an opiate.

    Concern is particularly high in South Florida, where a rising concentration of drug-treatment providers has coincided with the sprouting of kratom bars. But kratom is now available around the country. Powdered forms of the leaf are sold at head shops and gas-station convenience stores and on the Internet. Bars have recently opened in Colorado, New York, North Carolina and other states where customers nurse brewed varieties, varying in strength, from plastic bottles that resemble those for fruit juice.
    ]Kratom exists in a kind of legal purgatory. Because it is categorized as a botanic dietary supplement, the Food and Drug Administration cannot restrict its sale unless it is proved unsafe or producers claim that it treats a medical condition. (Some packages are coyly labeled “not for human consumption” to avoid tripping such alarms.) The F.D.A. did ban the import of kratom into the United States in 2014, however, under its authority when a substance is strongly suspected to be harmful. That year, marshals seized 25,000 pounds of it from a Los Angeles warehouse.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration has listed kratom as a “drug of concern” but not a controlled substance, which would require proven health risks and abuse potential. Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming have banned it on their own; several other states, including Florida and New Jersey, have set aside similar bills until more is known about kratom’s health risks. The Army has forbidden its use by soldiers.

    Kratom has been linked to seizures and respiratory depression, but deaths related to it appear rare. Linda Mautner, who lives in the Delray Beach area, has claimed that her 20-year-old son, Ian, committed suicide in 2014 in the throes of kratom addiction, but Mr. Mautner was also receiving treatment for depression. Some deaths in the United States have resulted from kratom’s being laced with the prescription pain reliever hydrocodone or morphine.

    Kratom’s narcotic effects have been known for centuries in its native Thailand, which banned the substance decades ago amid widespread abuse. Nevertheless, kratom being sold in the United States is still smuggled in from Thailand, as well as several other Southeast Asian countries. Western research of kratom is in its infancy. Some kratom advocates claim that it helped wean them from stronger and more dangerous opiates. Susan Ash of Norfolk, Va., said she had taken kratom during treatment for dependence on prescription painkillers, and now uses a small amount daily for chronic pain and depression. Last year, she founded the American Kratom Association, a consumer group of more than 2,000 members that lobbies against state bills to ban the substance.

    “We know from all our experiences that kratom has the potential to be a wonderful medicine,” said Ms. Ash, 46, adding that her organization receives little funding from kratom manufacturers. “We’re all experiencing that it’s changing our lives. We do agree that more science is needed to actually prove this potential that we know it has.”

    Meanwhile, kratom is sold somewhat under the radar. In Carrboro, N.C., a nonalcoholic bar called Krave serves kratom drinks under the name “ketum” to deter connections to the substance’s darker side, the owner, Elizabeth Gardner, said. Ms. Gardner added that if she learns that a customer is in substance-abuse recovery, she will disclose concerns about kratom’s potential addictiveness. Kavasutra, a popular chain of bars that sell kratom and kava, another plant-based drink, does not list kratom on its menu, but sells it regularly in bottles and small plastic bags of powder.

    Kavasutra’s owner, Dylan Harrison, was once one of South Florida’s primary manufacturers and distributors of spice, a synthetic hallucinogen banned under federal law. He was released from federal prison in August 2014 after serving 10 months on drug charges. Several telephone messages left for Mr. Harrison were not returned. Mr. Mautner’s death has fueled debates among South Florida lawmakers over making kratom illegal, a move supported by the Broward County Medical Association. Neither Broward County nor Palm Beach County, which includes Delray Beach, has done so, however, and Palm Beach County decided in April to not require warning signs of kratom’s addictiveness at bars and stores that sell it.

    Ms. Pankova frequented the Kavasutra in Delray Beach not only because kratom soothed her cravings for opiates, she said, but also because it was not detectable on the drug tests she took as part of her recovery program. Many drug-treatment providers consider kratom use a full-fledged relapse. Ms. Pankova said she and many friends wound up spending $60 a day on kratom drinks before moving back to less expensive heroin.

    Another South Florida resident with that experience, Robert Waina, said he had abused dozens of different drugs before discovering kratom three years ago. He enjoyed the mild high to the point that he found himself ordering bottle after bottle. When he tried to cut back, he couldn’t, and eventually suffered from such withdrawals that he had to go to rehab for kratom three times, most recently last spring.

    Sitting in a coffee shop in Delray Beach, Mr. Waina said recently that he had stayed sober since then, avoiding kratom like any other drug.

    “If I’m taking it,” he said, “as far as I’m concerned, I’m not clean.”

    By Alan Schwartz - The NY Times/Jan. 2, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Reclaimer
    So this bitches problem is the fact that she was spending 60$ a day on kratom, Decides she cant afford something healthy like kratom, so she goes back to the cheaper and much deadlier HEROIN .. And thats somehow Kratoms fault??

  2. betterdaysahead1234
    I was using Kratom at a moderate dose for just a few weeks, several times a day and I definitely had some withdrawals from quitting cold turkey: extreme moodiness, poor sleep, anxiety, etc. This went on for about a week before going away on its own.

    Definitely not something to take lightly.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    Seems like with most substances, kratom has its fans and its critics; those who find it very helpful for detoxing from opiates, and those who find it addictive in itself.

    Try as I might to use it to replace the opiates I'm prescribed daily, I just couldn't get the whole toss & wash or brewed tea thing going long enough to give kratom a good try, but I know many close friends who swear by it and have been using it successfully for years without addiction issues. Tolerance issues, yes. Addiction issues not so much.

    Thanks both of you for your addition to this thread, as your experience and opinions add much to any such discussions that arise.
  4. Bango Skank
    This can't be good for kratom's image. A guy just released from prison for manufacturing and distribution of spice starts a kratom bar.

    Listen, if you're spending 60$ a day on kratom and left wanting more,its because you're making someone else rich. This Dylan Harrison guy is playing these suckers. He's probably ordering from the same vendors available to everyone else, then marking up the price a few hundred percent.

    Lol I guess Kava-sutra is a good name for a kava bar though.
  5. Beenthere2Hippie
    Think you have a few good points, Bango, on the upcharging and on the taking a lot of area kratom enthusiasts for a ride, all under the guise of being helpful while serving it up at a very creatively named bar lol.
  6. Reclaimer


    I use Tramadol and Kratom both off and on and have never found the need to suddenly switch off to heroin cause its the better buzz and cheaper.. WTF?! Granted ive never used heroin but ive had various pain killers in pill form and high enough doses to get the gist..

    Im no organic purist or vegan, but id much rather ingest a plant thats going to bring on a good buzz Vs fuck with heroin regardless of price..It seems her whole motivation is boiled down to price, and that also seems to suggest shes just a weak mined drug addict who can't control her own drug use. Could have been cannabis at the current price for top shelf and she would have claimed the same.. Imput any drug in the place of kratom and the result is still the same.. KAVA coulda been the culprit if she chose that.. :\

    And seriously who the fuck goes from Kratom to Heroin?! Thats the biggest leap in drug use if i ever saw one.. Granted she was a previous heroin user but to claim relapse because of the kratom " addiction " is bullshit...
    So clearly shed rather spend 60$ on a drug thats going to get her higher then kratom possibly will...with far more excruciating withdrawal effects.

    I think this chick might have a story on fox news sometime....Degrading Kratom and calling for a ban from the feds, because hey.. heroins cheaper right?
  7. Name goes here
    And this is why kratom should never be sold for human consumption. Kratom is addictive without question. My preferred drugs to combine are fentanyl, kratom and coffee. Fentanyl kills my back pain. Kratom puts me into a sedative, relaxed and energetic simultaneously. Finally, my coffee addiction gives me energy for the day.

    Tobacco, coffee, alcohol and numerous supplements cause withdrawals. They are all perfectly legal even though they are addictive. Why pick on kratom? It works similar to opiates which are currently demonized by society.

    The guy serving kratom as a drink should be kicked in the nuts for the negative implications he's caused. Kratom is a godsend to people trying to get clean.
  8. Gradois
    Um...I would think that alcoholics are the least likely people to belive that. Maybe not to begin with, but at least a few years down the line.
  9. DiabolicScheme
    Pretty sure alcohol is legal to 98% of alcoholics. Pretty sure alcohol is considered a problem to alcoholics that have accepted their addictive condition.

    That being said the article isn't wrong and it isn't outrageous like some of the other kratom articles I've seen, one had the balls to call kratom a new legal heroin.

    Leave it to dumb asses to start publicizing kratom as a product to get high off of by creating these kratom bars. It is bad enough kratom has made its way into gas stations now we've got these bars to push federal banning of kratom closer to reality?

    Unfortunately I think it's only inevitable kratom will be a banned substance. With the recent crackdown in the UK and China on research chemicals, kratom is one of the few to outlive the aggressive banning of psychoactive substances in most places.
  10. chronicroaster
    Heroin at $50-$100 a day. norcos, morphines, opanas, dilaudids, at $50 a day. Or kratom at $50-$100 every two to three weeks. I think kratom comes the cheapest and the least addictive. I can spend more on cigarettes than kratom in a month. I can spend more on starbucks drinks in a month. I can even spend more on alcohol in a month. Kratom is definitely the cheapest and least concerning.

    I have been taking kratom for 3-4 years and spent weeks without taking any. The WD weren't that bad compared to heroin, painkillers, benzo, and alcohol WD. Thats my input!! I have experienced almost all the category of WD from drugs and kratom is by far the easiest to come off.

    OH ya and marijuana at $30-50 a day if I get tolerance back up. WTF are these people talking about, probably buying from a headshop or those bars they were talking about. I can just imagine those bars that serve kratom's profit margin is huge compared to buying online.

  11. chronicroaster
    Ya, when I went to the hospital they had the balls to categorize my 2 pounds of kratom as a research chemical and wouldn't let me touch it. It was in vendors bags also, not some plastic baggie either. I told the nurses and the doctors you can either let me have my kratom at 3 cups a day or you can give me painkillers. They opted for the painkillers which were dilaudid shots and oxycodone pills every 3 hours which they even gave me a script when I left causing me further problems because I have had problems in the past with painkillers.

    Now when I go to the hospital I always tape a couple ounces of kratom to the back of my catheter bag which has worked every time getting it in.
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