TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The Centers for Disease Control has released a warning about the herbal substance kratom.
The CDC took records from 27,338 overdose deaths from July 2016 to December of 2017. Of those deaths, 152 people tested positive for kratom. Kratom was determined to be a cause of death in 91, and in seven of those Kratom was the only substance found. They found that some people are taking kratom to curb opioid addiction.
Kratom is a plant native to southeast Asia. People there have been using it for years.
You can also find here in the U.S. including in parts of southern Arizona. People can purchase it online, at smoke shops and even in vending machines. The side effects include, seizures, hallucinations and even symptoms of psychosis.
The CDC says users are at risk to addiction and abuse.
The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center tell us, they received about a dozen calls last year about kratom. All of the calls came from hospitals with patients regarding an overdose. Many of those patients had a high dose of kratom and some other drug in their system.
The poison center says kratom can be safe, but it can also be dangerous depending on the person. The substance is not regulated by the FDA and has the potential for contamination.
Advocates for kratom are concerned about the contamination. They are calling for tighter regulations for manufacturing and labeling.