From the explosion of morphine addiction in the post-Civil War era, through Prohibition and into the modern War on Drugs, American citizens have seen the impacts of addiction and the unintended consequences of efforts to eradicate it. Over the past several decades, the substances that have produced these problems have become familiar to most people.
Words like meth, crack and oxy, all forms of slang, typically need no explanation.
But in recent years, a relatively unfamiliar substance, called kratom, has begun making inroads into the United States.
Kratom is a substance derived from Mitragyna speciosa, a tropical evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia. Much of the kratom sold in the United States is grown and harvested from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, where the substance has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
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