New research reveals a dramatic rise in the number of calls to U.S. poison control centers regarding the herbal supplement kratom. The plant, which is native to Southeast Asia, has been the source of controversy in recent years, as its use has been touted as an alternative to opioids and other painkillers, as well as a supposed treatment for depression, anxiety, and symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
But kratom, often taken as a pill or brewed as tea, is not regulated by the FDA and health officials have expressed concerns about its safety.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, found that calls to U.S. poison control centers about kratom skyrocketed more than 50-fold, from 13 calls in 2011 to 682 calls in 2017. That’s the equivalent of going from about one call a month to two calls a day.
Read more at CBS News.