Wednesday, December 6

Local doctor, CDC warn of potential dangers of kratom

Whether it’s a wonder supplement or a dangerous drug, the controversy continues to swirl around the substance known as kratom.

The Centers for Disease Control has linked kratom to more than 150 deaths but kratom supporters swear by it. They say it helps them when nothing else would.

People who use kratom say it helps them with stress, anxiety and opioid withdrawal. But doctors, including the head of the emergency department at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, say they don’t know what they’re getting.

“The research really hasn’t supported (users’ claims), and I think we have a lot to learn,” said Dr. Ben Fickenscher in a Friday interview.

“A lot of people assume that because this is a substance found in a plant, found in nature, that somehow it’s natural and therefore safe.”

Kratom comes as a shot, as a loose powder, or in capsules. It’s legal in Virginia.


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