Is Kratom the Cure for Heroin Addiction?
The short answer is “no,” because there is no cure for any kind of addiction. However, some people have been using the drug in an attempt to moderate their use of heroin, despite the fact that it, too, is addictive.
This article will take a closer look at the use of kratom as an alternative to heroin, including its associated risks and treatment options.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a drug made from the leaves of a Southeast Asian plant by the same name. It’s sold in powder or pill form and available on the street or in drinks sold in cafes.
According to the DEA, kratom can have both stimulant and sedative effects, depending on the amount taken. The drug is also said to affect the brain in a way that is similar to an opiate and is known to be addictive.
Is Kratom Legal?
Technically, yes. However, there may be some state regulations or prohibitions against the possession and use of kratom.
Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the import of kratom in 2014, it cannot otherwise restrict its sale in the United States because it is classified as a dietary supplement. Unless it is proven to be unsafe or manufacturers attempt to claim that the substance has medicinal use, the FDA will not be able to stop the sale of the substance in any form.
Why Do People Use Kratom to Avoid Using Heroin?
People who attempt to use kratom in recovery say that it helps them avoid relapse because the substance provides a very muted high or euphoric feeling. Some liken it to taking methadone as a part of a tapered detox for heroin addiction. Methadone, too, is addictive, but many have successfully used the drug to immediately stop taking the dangerous drug heroin, and replace it with a substance that allows them to slowly lower their dose over time.
Is It Safe to Use Kratom to Manage Heroin Addiction?
No. Not only is there no research to support the use of kratom as a safe heroin detox option, there are just as many stories of people who attempted to use the drug during addiction recovery and ultimately relapsed as a result.
For many, the use of kratom is a trigger. It whets the appetite for a stronger high, and many find that they use more and more of the drug. Whether it is purchased on the street or in the form of a beverage at a local cafe, many buy more and more in order to amplify their experience. It usually doesn’t take long for them to return to heroin, a drug that is far stronger and much less expensive than kratom.
Risks of Kratom Use for Recovery
In addition to the risk of relapse and returning to heroin use, there are many other risks associated with using kratom for recovery. For example, unlike the methadone that is prescribed and given to patients by a medical professional, kratom is not standardized in its production. There is no way to know what the drug is cut with, especially when it is purchased on the street. This makes it an unknown quantity and potentially dangerous for users in any amount.
Additionally, kratom can cause medical emergencies in users. There has been a number of accounts of erratic behavior and increasing rates of emergency admissions caused by use of the drug across the country. It is not safe, despite the fact that it is legal, and for those in recovery, it is a threat to their ability to remain sober.
Also, kratom is reported to cause a stimulant effect in users at low doses and a sedative effect at higher doses. This means that the drug may not affect all people in the same way every time, which can be problematic, especially if they are using other substances in combination with the drug.
Lastly, kratom addiction is problematic in and of itself. People who use it to stop using heroin may find that they simply replace the substance of abuse with kratom.
Kratom as a Public Health Threat
As a public health concern, the threat of kratom varies by region, but in the areas where kratom is readily available, it is a significant issue. States like North Carolina, Florida, New York, and Colorado have seen spikes in emergency room visits due to the availability of the drug in drink form at bars and cafes, as well as on the street.
As a personal health issue, use of kratom is never recommended among those who are trying to live a clean and sober life. It is a drug with no medicinal purpose that is used recreationally, and it causes a high in the user and can trigger cravings. This makes it a “no go” for those focused on building a life for themselves in sobriety.
Finding Treatment for Kratom Addiction
If you feel that you are struggling with kratom use for any reason and are unable to stop on your own, treatment services are available to help.
At our inpatient drug and alcohol rehab facility in Las Vegas, we offer different levels of addiction treatment and tailor treatment plans to meet the individual needs of each patient. To learn more about our programming, ways to pay for rehab, or using insurance to pay for rehab, contact us .
Our admissions navigators are available around the clock to answer questions and walk you through the rehab admissions process.
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Whether you are struggling with use of heroin, kratom, or another substance, addiction of any kind can be devastating. But it is treatable. Call at us at to get on the road to recovery today.