- Kratom usage has seen a spike, particularly among those misusing opioid analgesics, despite its known risks including addiction and potential side effects.
- Although sourced from plants and legal, kratom use has been linked to numerous poisoning cases and fatalities, often in conjunction with other drugs like opioids.
- From a 2019 National Survey, it emerged that kratom usage was heavily prevalent among individuals misusing prescription opioids, with some rates reaching up to 10% especially among those diagnosed with opioid use disorder.
- Demographics reveal that men, Caucasians, and people battling depression and severe mental illness report more kratom usage. Less usage is reported in teenagers and individuals over 50.
- Joseph Palamar, the author of a study on kratom usage, emphasized the need for more investigations to evaluate kratom’s effectiveness in aiding opioid withdrawal and ascertain its safety when consumed with other substances.
Despite being a constituent of the daily consumption of fewer than 1% of the population of the U.S., the practice of using herbal kratom has seen a significant rise, particularly among those who misuse opioid analgesics, according to fresh research.
The Profile and Risks of Kratom
Primarily used as a means to alleviate pain and cope with withdrawal symptoms from opioids, kratom does not come without its fair share of hazards. The threat of addiction and damaging side effects has made governmental bodies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration mark kratom as a potential “drug of concern”.
Sourced from plants, this product, though having legal approval, has been associated with numerous cases of poisoning and fatalities in the United States. It’s noteworthy that a sizeable percentage of these instances also involved the usage of other drugs, predominantly opioids.
Mentioning Kratom in the Drug Use and Health Survey
In a recent endeavour, the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health collected data from over 56,000 U.S. teenagers and adults. According to the results, 0.7% revealed their experience with kratom throughout the previous year. Unsurprisingly, it was seen that this percentage increased dramatically in those who also indulge in other substances such as cannabis, cocaine, and stimulants.
In the group of those misusing prescription opioids, a high rate of kratom usage was observed. The highest rates, reaching up to an alarming 10%, were seen in those diagnosed with opioid use disorder.
Demographic Patterns in Kratom Use
Some specific demographic trends also emerged in this study. It was observed that men, Caucasians, and individuals combating depression and severe mental illness reported usage of kratom to a greater extent. On the other hand, teenagers and people above the age of 50 tended to report less usage, as per the study recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
This investigation illuminates our understanding of the predominance of kratom and its association with opioid misuse,” remarks Joseph Palamar, the author of this study and also an associate professor of population health at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
“It is critical that more studies are conducted to assess the efficacy of this substance in aiding opioid withdrawal. Similarly, it’s important to ascertain its safety levels when combined with other substances,” Palamar added in an official press release from NYU.
For further details about kratom, you can refer to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse’s online article here.
SOURCE: New York University, press release, unspecified date.