Kratom: Could it Help or Hurt The Opioid Addiction Crisis?

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Many people who suffer pain hate the side effects of opioid painkillers, and some even fear becoming addicted to the potent prescription drugs.

So some are turning to a botanical substance that is now on the radar of federal health officials.

“It’s testicular cancer, but only in my chest right there. It’s a pretty rare type of cancer. I found out about it Mardi Gras weekend last year,” he said.

While working in Uptown New Orleans at Mushroom Records, the 21-year old shared his diagnosis and what he said helps with the lingering effects.

Taste aside, a debate is growing over kratom’s safety and whether it can help or hurt the opioid painkiller epidemic.

In a September press release, the FDA said, “To date, there have been no adequate and well-controlled scientific studies involving the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use withdrawal, or other diseases in humans.”

Further, the FDA has said kratom affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, and it appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence.

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