A new natural drug called, Kratom is becoming increasingly popular in South Florida. It has officials worried due to experts stating it could be more addictive than some illegal drugs, including heroin.
Legal in the United States, Kratom can be purchased at head shops, the Internet and Kava Bars in the area. Kratom comes from a tree leaf found in southeastern Asia. It is most popular among older males in Thailand and Malaysia, who perform hard physical labor. Although now illegal in Malaysia, the use is still widespread, due to the abundance of trees grown in the area.
What Does Kratom Do?
In the states, such as South Florida, the common method is to ingest this drug. The dried Kratom, is boiled, strained and drank as a tea. The effects of Kratom are similar to the effects of opiates (morphine, codeine) in both physical and mental ways. Mentally, it provides a calm and relaxing euphoria. The physical effects are
- Constriction of pupils
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
Kratom has caused a lot of controversy in Florida. Since it is not illegal, the Kava Bars are selling it in teas. They state it is not harmful or addictive, and compare it to coffee. Although some customers have stated the opposite, and have had to seek rehab.
Doctors in the area such as Dr. Moran of the Wellington Retreat states, “I have treated patients who prefer Kratom to heroin.” Many doctors are trying to get Kratom banned from the U.S. The number of substance abuse is on the rise in the rehab community. Doctors feel that people are taking it as a substitute for drugs like heroin or oxycodone because it does not show up on a drug test.
Little research has been conducted on Kratom. There are no clear answers to side effects or continued use.
Countries who have outlawed this natural substance include Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Burma, Vietnam and Australia.
Regular urine drug testing is a way to deter users from turning to alternate substances like Kratom. If you know someone who is battling drug addiction, give them the support to seek help and get better.