Kratom is quickly spreading as a drug of choice for younger generations. The substance grows on trees in Southeast Asia, and it was once used by workers to stay alert. Different mixes of the drug are now being created in potent cocktails, capsules or beverages, and its popularity is no longer limited to its region of origin.
Kratom is derived from a plant that grows across the southern jungles of Thailand. Throughout history, it was used by farmers as a means of boosting energy and prolonging stamina. They used the plant by chewing on its leaves. Today’s kratom is widely available, and it has caused a storm in the government of Thailand. The substance is used today in a much more dangerous narcotic blend that usually involves boiling the leaves and adding cola and cough syrup. Boiling the leaves may increase the potency of the plant’s effects, but this habit alone is not seen as a problem for older generations because of its history as a form of medicine. The new variety has seen a rapid increase in demand, and young people in the country sneak into the forests to collect and smuggle the leaves.
A survey of 1,000 teenagers performed by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board in Thailand showed that 94 percent of participants used the drug. It is easily accessible to teens in the southern provinces due to the fact that it is cheap for bulk purchase. One can buy 20 leaves at a time for an amount equaling just $3 in US money. Efforts to halt the spread of kratom use have been unsuccessful as the penalties for those involved are too lenient. Thai police have attempted to cut down kratom trees to gain more control, but this has been met by backlash from environmental advocates. Kratom is rarely controlled in many parts of the Western world, and this facilitates the spread of the stronger cocktail variety.
The Effects Of Kratom Use
In the West, kratom is often taken in capsule form or as crushed leaves to make tea. Chronic use of the substance can have a number of adverse effects including:
- Psychotic Episodes
- Respiratory Depression
- Severe Vomiting/Nausea
- Darkening of the Face
- Itchy Skin
- Loss of Appetite
There are treatment options for those struggling with kratom use. Every person is different, so every individual will have different treatment needs and will respond differently to treatment plans. For most situations, inpatient substance treatment is one of the most effective options available. It allows the user to be placed among the constant care of substance abuse professionals. Participants also get the opportunity to be among fellow users with whom they may share experiences or goals. Inpatient treatment removes the user from his or her source of their substance to limit access to the drug and subsequent use.