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Substance called 'Kratom' becoming a growing problem

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    There’s a new natural substance just about anyone can buy right now in South Florida that doctors say can be more addictive and dangerous than some illegal drugs.

    It’s a substance many young people in the area are taking and substance abuse experts say it can be more difficult to get off of than heroin.

    It’s called Kratom. It’s from the leaf of a tree grown in Southeast Asia and it’s legal in the United States.

    Our Contact 5 Undercover Investigation revealed you can buy it easily at many local tobacco shops, over the Internet, or at Kava Bars in the area where it’s mixed into a tea-like drink.

    Michelle Tesarek began ordering a drink that contained Kratom earlier this year at the Purple Lotus Kava Bar in downtown West Palm Beach.

    “Something that I thought was just going to be a good time, ended up making me sick,” said Michelle.

    "They just said ‘Try this, it gives you a euphoric feeling’,” she said.

    Michelle said she didn’t know at the time that it can be highly addictive and has been banned in a handful of countries. She soon began to know why.

    “In one instance, I had to actually pull over, because it was just way too much of an intense feeling for me,” Michelle said.

    “I knew I was hooked on it, when I was given the medicine to block it and I still wanted it anyways to see if I could still get that feeling back because I missed it,” she explained.

    It wasn’t until she went to a clinic that specializes in substance abuse that she realized how dangerous Kratom can really be.

    “I have treated patients who prefer Kratom to heroin,” said Dr. Moran of the Wellington Retreat.

    Doctor Moran treated Michelle and said the substance can have opiate-type effects for some people if taken in certain doses.

    "It's quite freighting because most people who are introduced to it have no idea what the potential danger is,” said Moran.

    In fact, Dr. Moran prescribed the same medication to wean Michelle off Kratom as he would prescribe to someone addicted to heroin. “They think that because it's not illegal, it's safe,” he said.

    However the owner of Purple Lotus, Jim Scianno, who owns both area locations, said the natural substance is similar to drinking coffee.

    “You have to do a lot, ridiculous quantities to get any kind of withdrawal,” said Scianno. “It’s not highly addictive,” he said. He said hundreds of his customers drink Kratom without any problems. You won’t find any warnings or age limits posted inside.

    “It doesn't deserve a warning, unless you see someone abusing it,” said Jim.

    By then, doctors said it can be too late. Including Doctor Raul Rodriguez who has seen more than 100 patients in his Delray Beach office who have had problems with Kratom over the past year.

    “The worst one is actually Kratom leaf, that is the one that will get them hooked physically worse than any of the other ones,” said Dr. Rodriguez.

    “It's definitely a mind altering substance and can cause problems when over used,” said Boca Raton Doctor Lacresha Hall.

    It caused so many problems for Michelle, she checked herself into an inpatient rehab facility for a month.

    Everybody thought it was the silliest thing to check myself into treatment for... but at the same time, I was scared to death,” said Michelle.

    Kratom is a big substance in the rehab community. Doctors said many people are taking it as a substitute for drugs like heroin or oxycodone. It does not show up on a drug test. Many doctors are now trying to get the drug banned.

    By Dan Krauth
    June 30, 2011



  1. Phenoxide
    Haha this article is great comedy in so many ways. You know you're off to a good start when a plant that has existed for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years suddenly yields a "new natural substance". Did kratom only evolve to produce psychoactive alkaloids in the past week or so? If so I'm disappointed that I didn't read about this crazy mutant kratom on Drugs-Forum first!

    Why did they need an undercover investigation team to look into a product that is legally available? Did they have to wear Groucho Marx moustaches and outrageous wigs in order to infiltrate this close-knit clandestine organization and get the inside scoop on these devil substances? Great work fellas! :applause:

    I also wholeheartedly agree with the aptly named Dr. Moran (a typo I presume); I'm sure there are a number of people who prefer kratom to heroin. Good. That's a good thing. Kratom is certainly not risk free (and I don't approve of the shop owner totally playing down the potential risks) but if one has an interest in opioids then surely a bit of kratom tea is preferable to mainlining heroin?

    Trying to portray kratom as equivalent to heroin in terms of effects or harm potential? "Quite freighting" indeed.
  2. Balzafire
    You can look for the rehab industry and makers of subutex/methedone to do everything they can to get kratom banned. It's catching on as a safe and natural way to get off opiates and that is a natural, serious threat to their business.
    A bought-and-paid-for scare piece if I ever saw one. Looks like those rehab clinic guys bought themselves a nice little infomercial there and even managed to have it disguised as news.
    Funny how nobody mentioned that subutex (which was shown in the video) is dangerous and addictive.
    Journalism at its most disgusting.
  3. Herbs&Hopes
    I have only recently learned of kratom in the past year. Seeing as I am prescribed 120mg of oxycodone daily and still require more pain relief, I would be devastated if kratom was made illegal. Between kratom and the oxy, I have comfortable days, more so than when I was on the fentanyl patch [which seems to have reduced the duration of oxycodone AND the kratom both by half - during the first week after taking fentanyl I was getting 1 hour, maaaybe 1.5 hours of pain relief from each oral dose I took]. I get 2 hours of pain relief from 7 grams of kratom, and 2 hours of pain relief from 20 mg of oxycodone. I cannot take any more kratom than 7 grams without getting eye-strain and trouble focusing and if I take 30-40 mg of oxycodone I get a comfortable 3-4 hours. I am trying desperatly to reset my tolerance since being on the fentanyl for two months.. I was getting by with 2-4 doses of 6 grams kratom daily attaining 4-5 hours of pain relief consistently, now I require 6-7 grams of ketum, and 2 hours later another 6 grams to get 4 hours of pain relief.... lol. Love the trials and tribulations of pain management.
  4. DiabolicScheme
    Damn it, I knew it would be only a matter of time before these stupid, fact-less, fear mongering news articles would start to appear about Kratom. The comparison to Heroin is absolutely ridiculous and would be like writing a article comparing methamphetamine to caffeine.
    Seriously find that very hard to believe.

    One step closer to getting a relatively harmless herb (especially when used responsibly) banned...

    I pray this doesn't start to stir up in the national news. With all the stir ups with research chemicals, I feel like it is only a matter of time.
  5. corvardus
    This is becoming an intensely annoying comment that the prohibitionists are using. It seems that only THEY are thinking this. Does anyone know of the original source for that comment or is it wishful thinking on their part, and it just caught on?
  6. Terrapinzflyer
    ^^ To be fair, there have been indications in our own RC forums that quite a few people who would never do an "illegal drug" do for some odd reason equate the fact they can by a product at the corner store with it being "safe" (never mind they can also buy tobacco, alcohol and all manner of other things that are not "safe" )

    And again, I think we are seeing issues arise, justified or not, when intoxicating substances are being taken out of the murky shadows and sold openly to the public- a public that more often then not probably does not have the info on them that those that would normally seek them out in the shadows have.

    And of course- this story is coming out of Florida- the "come on vacation, leave on probation" state, home to some of the nations worst pill mills, a state infamous for alcohol fueled debauchery spring breaks, a state where its banks and real estate markets for many years gladly turned a blind eye to cocaine and marijuana smuggling as long as they could take a chunk of the pie, and home to more then its share of rehabs.
  7. kailey_elise
    So, on average, you saw someone who had "problems" with Kratom twice a week? I call bullshit on that one, unless you: 1) advertise yourself as someone who treats Kratom "problems", 2) define "problems" with Kratom in such a way that anyone who's partaken of it once has a "problem", or 3) both 1 & 2.
    Oh, then I'll be sure to get people Kratom extracts instead - they're far "safer" in terms of addiction! Is this doctor smoking crack?! Leaf is the SAFEST preparation of Kratom one could use!
    Um, so can coffee. So can soda. So can Tylenol & Advil. Does anyone really need a 28 day detox for Kratom? REALLY? I find that pretty hard to believe. People should keep this poor girl away from the medicine cabinet...


  8. Joben
    What's funny is that the first time I've heard of the substance was during the reading of that article. Before any research, I could tell it's purpose was to fear monger. Thanks to DF, I read experiences and uses, and decided to try for myself.

    Less than 2 hours after reading this 'informative and journalistic" article, I placed an order from a very reliable online supplier. It should arrive at my doorstep within a week. I've had a prescription for Oxycodone for quite some time, which has helped, but I am quickly developing a tolerance and am always in need of something stronger. The problem is, I know how well the drug works and how fast the addiction set in.

    Thankfully there is something I can try which might help me wane off prescription use. From everything I now know about Kratom, I couldn't imagine any aspect of the article above being fact, let alone being classified as illegal. I am excited to try a new substance and I will share my Kratom experience with my fellow DF users as soon as it concludes.
  9. Teknicality
    I like how for this article it's a substance, not a plant.

    I'm fairly sure Kratom has been criminalized in the countries that it naturally occurs in. Want to say...Thailand? Don't hold me to that.

    Kratom wouldn't be a problem if everyone kept taking their heroin :)
  10. PalomoJames7420
    I thought this was a joke upon reading this! Seriously this is a plant no different than cannabis, salvia, or tobacco. Why don't they ban alcohol and tobacco while they're at it ( we all know how high the potential for abuse is with these two legal socially acceptable substances). This seems so reminiscent of reefer madness propoganda. I just don't buy it right away. With all said and done Prohibition is NOT the answer, but what can I say, this is from Florida AKA "Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation".
  11. kailey_elise
    Ah, excellent point. They don't want Kratom to take away business from the pill mills & bars. Duh. How could I have forgotten this important fact? ;)

  12. Ooh La La
    Junk! This is the same kind of crappy articles that scare parents and create close-minded "action and awareness groups"- And whats this crap that this woman had to given the same medication to "get off" heroin? You mean methadone? If that is the case, I think the intake person at the clinic she attended should be shot on sight for slapping on the liquid handcuffs if this is indeed what happened...

    I am not against methadone mind you, but methadone is used to treat long-term users and abusers of opiates (I myself have reported good success with it, it got my life back), not a person who used Kratom a few times...

    It's journalistic rot like this that has made it very difficult for me to sample some Ibogaine as well...where does it end? It is evident where it begins...
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