Smashed Peaches

Drug Research Studies

Some patients use Kratom to fight opioid addiction – WESH 2 Orlando

Some former drug addicts call it a miracle, but the DEA says it’s dangerous.It’s called Kratom. Thirteen people were poisoned by Kratom in 2011, according to a report released last week.That number is up by 5,200 percent now.WESH 2’s Meredith McDonough looked at how easy it is to get, and where researchers stand.”I look at my kids and think ten years before that I was sleeping on the grass on the side of a Walmart, in a heartbeat things can be completely different,” said Catherine Enzor.Enzor has been clean for eight years. She was addicted to painkillers. An emergency C-section left her in a scary place until she found Kratom.”As soon as I drank it, I realized this is taking care of my post surgical pain. I don’t feel like my insides are going to fall out of my incision,” she said.Kratom is a leaf native to Southeast Asia. It’s been used for centuries there to increase energy, boost mood and to wean people off of opium. University of Florida professor Chris McCurdy has spent 15 years studying Kratom. “It is very comparable to what we would look at as coffee or tea. It is something to boost their energy, get them more active,” McCurdy said.But it’s been the source of years of controversy. Kris Konicki owns LifeStyle Smoke Shop in Longwood. “There needs to be some oversight so there can be some trust in what it is that you are actually buying and paying for and in-taking,” Konicki said.The DEA almost banned Kratom altogether, classifying it as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it contains chemicals that have a high potential for abuse. The FDA links Kratom to 44 deaths. It is banned in a few states and in Sarasota County. McCurdy said it’s simply a matter of needing more research. His team just received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.But the major concern centers around whether Kratom itself is addictive.Enzor is raising three daughters and praises Kratom’s abilities to keep her clean for her family. She is passionate enough to take her case to Washington.”I’ve gone up to D.C. with my kids twice now for Kratom, so we are more than ready to go where we need to, to talk to whoever we need to talk to, to keep it on the legal side,” she said.The American Kratom Association suggests finding a vendor that complies with their safety standards to make sure there was nothing added to the product.The DEA sent WESH 2 News a statement: “Kratom continues to be a drug of concern … DEA would advise against using this substance for its psychoactive properties.”However, the DEA thought it was appropriate to seek additional comments from the public and obtain the FDA’s scientific and medical evaluation prior to taking any further action.

Some former drug addicts call it a miracle, but the DEA says it’s dangerous.

It’s called Kratom.

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Thirteen people were poisoned by Kratom in 2011, according to a report released last week.

That number is up by 5,200 percent now.

WESH 2’s Meredith McDonough looked at how easy it is to get, and where researchers stand.

“I look at my kids and think ten years before that I was sleeping on the grass on the side of a Walmart, in a heartbeat things can be completely different,” said Catherine Enzor.

Enzor has been clean for eight years. She was addicted to painkillers. An emergency C-section left her in a scary place until she found Kratom.

“As soon as I drank it, I realized this is taking care of my post surgical pain. I don’t feel like my insides are going to fall out of my incision,” she said.

Kratom is a leaf native to Southeast Asia. It’s been used for centuries there to increase energy, boost mood and to wean people off of opium.

University of Florida professor Chris McCurdy has spent 15 years studying Kratom.

“It is very comparable to what we would look at as coffee or tea. It is something to boost their energy, get them more active,” McCurdy said.

But it’s been the source of years of controversy.

Kris Konicki owns LifeStyle Smoke Shop in Longwood.

“There needs to be some oversight so there can be some trust in what it is that you are actually buying and paying for and in-taking,” Konicki said.

The DEA almost banned Kratom altogether, classifying it as a Schedule 1 drug, which means it contains chemicals that have a high potential for abuse. The FDA links Kratom to 44 deaths. It is banned in a few states and in Sarasota County.

McCurdy said it’s simply a matter of needing more research. His team just received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

But the major concern centers around whether Kratom itself is addictive.

Enzor is raising three daughters and praises Kratom’s abilities to keep her clean for her family. She is passionate enough to take her case to Washington.

“I’ve gone up to D.C. with my kids twice now for Kratom, so we are more than ready to go where we need to, to talk to whoever we need to talk to, to keep it on the legal side,” she said.

The American Kratom Association suggests finding a vendor that complies with their safety standards to make sure there was nothing added to the product.

The DEA sent WESH 2 News a statement: “Kratom continues to be a drug of concern … DEA would advise against using this substance for its psychoactive properties.”

However, the DEA thought it was appropriate to seek additional comments from the public and obtain the FDA’s scientific and medical evaluation prior to taking any further action.

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