Kratom is derived from a tree native to Southeast Asia. Although this substance is currently banned in several countries from that region, it has brought about much discussion lately because it has started popping up in local stores. Arguments against any Kratom retail ban are very similar to arguments related to marijuana legalization, and though there may be some potential medical benefits, there are some real consequences as well.

Like many other drugs, Kratom has the potential to be addictive, can lead to other health concerns and may create some safety issues. Kratom side effects include anxiety, nausea, constipation, aggression, seizures, confusion, problems with coordination and increased mental health issues. Like many unregulated drugs, there is no standard for ingredients and no set dosage for use, leading to additional dangers from overuse. Additionally, there have been a number of cases where Kratom products were tested revealing the presence of other drugs. Sadly, some could possibly develop use disorders to Kratom or use it to sustain dependence to other drugs, by using Kratom as a short term replacement during times when someone can’t use heroin or other drugs.

When looking at the medical benefits, the healthcare community must evaluate how to access the medical benefits while limiting or eliminating the consequences. This requires research to establish what conditions may be helped and at what dosage. Some potential medical benefits may include treatment for pain, cough, diarrhea, hypertension, anxiety and depression, or to assist patients battling dependence to some other drugs. To date, there has been a limited amount of legitimate research conducted and the FDA has not approved any use of Kratom for treatment. Many may think they can rely on local retailers for guidance on treatment ailments; however, medical professionals should still be who we turn to for medical advice.

The legal status of Kratom is still being debated, but use by anyone should be discouraged, especially when it comes to youth. ASAC can assist organizations in being more educated on this topic or any other emerging drug trends. Anyone interested in more information or gaining assistance can call 390- 1884.