BY: Robert B. Sickels | IN: Personal Injury
While the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across the country, a new dangerous drug threat is emerging, one that can be found in almost any corner store or easily ordered over the internet. Kratom, a botanical substance from Southeast Asia that can produce stimulant effects in low doses and some opioid-like effects at higher doses, has exploded in popularity. Its increased use and availability have also led to a corresponding rise in overdose deaths and other problems.
Now, new research into kratom and its effects is raising alarm bells among authorities and medical experts who are wary of yet another front in the war against addiction and drug-related deaths.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study identified at least 152 drug overdose deaths from July 2016 to June 2017 in which the deceased tested positive for kratom. The report also noted several other studies that suggest that kratom has the potential for dependence and abuse. That supposition appears to be supported by the fact that about 80 percent of the kratom-related overdose deaths cited in the study were among people who had a history of substance misuse.
Overdoses are just one indication of kratom’s risks. A separate study published earlier this year revealed that poison control centers experienced a fiftyfold rise in calls related to kratom from 2011 to 2017.
Often sold as an herbal “supplement,” kratom is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and many products sold as “kratom” may also contain other dangerous substances. The FDA has issued several health warnings about the use of kratom, advising consumers that it is “concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.”
These concerns have led several states and local governments to ban the sale of kratom, but the substance remains legal in Michigan, as previous attempts to restrict its sale have failed to pass.
At Sommers Schwartz, PC, we have seen the tragic consequences that follow addiction and abuse of opioids and other substances like kratom. That is why we are part of a nationwide consortium of lawyers that have joined together to pursue compensation from opioid distributors, collaborating on behalf of local governments to get them the financial resources they need to fight the crisis and provide necessary services to the public.
Our experienced defective device and dangerous drug attorneys have a long track record of success holding drug manufacturers, distributors, and others to account for the damage they cause and getting our clients the compensation that can help them recover and move forward.
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For more than 30 years, Robert Sickels has successfully represented plaintiffs involved in complex personal injury, medical negligence, and products liability matters.