Public health and law enforcement officials advise parents to be on the alert for a new designer drug that is said to be as addictive as heroin and can produce cocaine-like highs. Known as kratom, the herbal remedy comes from a tree in southeast Asia and is popping up in smoke shops and convenience stores around the country.
"It's a branch of the coffee family and years and years ago, the villagers would manipulate the leaves and it gave off an effect that relaxed people," said John Corbett, a drug counselor, to CBS Miami. "Doctors are Googling, they're actually Googling what is this, where is this coming from. People are ending up in emergency rooms, hospitals, rehab."
According to Corbett, the plant is ground into a powder and stuffed into capsules. It is also commonly sold in liquid form. He added that it's highly addictive, likening kratom to opium or heroin. Individuals dependent on the substance have said that the withdrawal process is similarly painful and causes vomiting, chills and sweats.
Although kratom has been banned in Malaysia and Thailand – the countries where the plant originated – it is still perfectly legal to consume and sell the substance in the United States. According to the source, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently placed the substance on its list of "Drugs and Chemicals of Concern." The agency's chemists will study the kratom before making any final judgments about its legality.
If you're worried that your teen may be experimenting with or possibly addicted to designer drugs such as kratom, now is the time to seek help. For information about how a drug use intervention could benefit your child, contact Intervention Services today.