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Poison control calls for kratom increase from one a month to two a day, study shows

Published on 22/02/19 at 09:27am
Image Credit: Thehealingeast https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kratom_leaves.jpg

The number of phone calls to US poison control centres over exposures to kratom – an herbal drug with opioid properties and stimulant like effects – has increased from just 13 in 2011 to 682 in 2017.

The American Kratom Association believes that there are between 3 million and 5 million kratom users in the United States. Kratom, a plant native to Malaysia is often used as a treatment for pain and opioid withdrawals.

According to a new study published in the journal Clinical Toxicology poison centres reported more than 1800 exposures to kratom between 2011 and 2017. The majority of exposures were in adults, however 137 were in teens and 48 were in children younger than 12.

There were 11 deaths associated with the use of kratom, either by itself or in combination with other substances, during the study period.

“Individuals who choose to use kratom need to be aware of the potential risks. Just because it is currently classified as an herbal supplement does not mean that it is regulated or that it is safe," Henry Spiller, co-author of the study and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital said.

Louis Goss

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