Cratered by Kratom

Kratom is an increasingly popular drug of abuse and readily available on the “recreational” drug market. Between 3 million and 5 million people in the U.S. use kratom, and reported poisonings from people taking it have soared.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against using Mitragyna Speciosa, commonly known as kratom, a tree in the coffee family which grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. The concern is that kratom leaves, which affect the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appear to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.

There are no FDA-approved uses for kratom because there is no scientific evidence to support its medical use, and the FDA urges consumers to report any adverse reactions to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

The race is on to get patents for synthetics and derivatives of Mitragyna Speciosa. Doctors and mental health workers need to be aware of the psychopathological effects of these substances.

Because kratom is still legal in the U.S., it has become a go-to drug for individuals with chronic pain, promoted anecdotally by some psychiatrists both to mitigate pain and to ease withdrawal from other opioids.

Some other psychiatrists are convinced of kratom’s mental health benefits as a potential therapeutic agent.

Here again we see psychiatry, with its long history of harmful drug pushing, justifying and promoting the latest in a long line of such harmful, addictive and psychedelic drugs.

Similar to the dose-dependent characteristics of any drug, in relatively small amounts kratom acts as a stimulant; in relatively larger amounts it causes sedation; and when overdosed it can cause death.

Kratom’s psychoactive compounds, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are opioid-receptor agonists, which means they are chemicals that bind to the same receptors in the brain to which opioids bind, thus acting in the brain similar to other opioids like morphine and codeine.

Side effects of taking (or withdrawing from) kratom may include dependence, nausea, vomiting, aggression, hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, seizures, thyroid problems, increased risk of suicide, trouble breathing, brain swelling, seizures, liver damage, or death.

In spite of the American Kratom Association’s lobbying efforts to promote this harmful substance, and its repeated references to the American Psychiatric Association for support, we find that there is sufficient reason to be highly skeptical.

Click here for more information about kratom.

Patients With Mental Disorders Get Half Of All Opioid Prescriptions

A June 26, 2017 article on Kaiser Health News by Vickie Connor presents the information that, “Adults with a mental illness receive more than 50 percent of the 115 million opioid prescriptions in the United States annually.”

Not surprisingly, it also says that while the opioids are prescribed primarily for pain, patients with mental illness find that the drugs alleviate their mental issues, too. We don’t know about you, but if we’re in severe pain our mental health suffers. Then again, you’ve probably heard of the “hammer effect” — if you’re having symptoms of mental trauma, smack your finger smartly with a hammer and we guarantee that you won’t be thinking about your mental troubles for a while. (This is one of those “please don’t try this at home” pieces of advice.)

Understand that when news media say “mental illness,” we read “mental symptoms,” since the symptoms are real but the illness is not. There may indeed be some physical, medical illness; but the fact is, there is no such thing as a “mental illness” the way the psychiatric industry touts it. In 40 years, “biological psychiatry” has yet to validate a single psychiatric condition/diagnosis as an abnormality/disease, or as anything neurological, biological, chemically imbalanced or genetic.

In any case, the best treatments for chronic pain are not opioids, but finding the underlying causes for the pain, learning how to deal with those, and treating those with workable, non-psychiatric methods. See also “The Medicalization of Addiction” for more information about the current craze of treating opioid addiction with more addictive drugs.

Opioid addiction and related deaths have become such an issue in Missouri that  Missouri Attorney General Joshua Hawley filed a lawsuit June 21, 2017 in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City against several pharmaceutical companies. Opioid sales now generate nearly $10 billion in sales per year, while countless individuals have become addicted to opioids as a result of the use of opioids for chronic-pain treatment, often with tragic results.

“Missouri faces an urgent public-health crisis. Each year, hundreds of Missourians die from opioid overdoses, while tens of thousands more are hospitalized or require emergency treatment. Opioid addiction and abuse have destroyed the lives of countless Missourians and ravaged communities across the State. This opioid epidemic is the direct result of a carefully crafted campaign of deception carried out by Defendants. For years, Defendants fraudulently misrepresented the risks posed by the drugs that they manufacture and sell, misleading both doctors and consumers.”

We don’t really know which came first — the mental trauma or the physical pain; but it doesn’t really matter which comes first. The bottom line is that neither opioids nor psychiatric drugs are workable treatments. Click here for more information about workable treatments.