Kratom is a psychoactive substance that could help ease the effects of the United States’ opioid crisis. To understand how Kratom can combat the nation’s rash use of opioids and opiates, we first need to brush up on our understanding of all things associated with the state of opioids in the United States.
If you live in the United States, you’re almost certainly familiar with the phrase “opioid crisis.” You likely know some information about opioids, opioid use, and society’s treatment of opioid users here in the United States. Unfortunately, however, there’s tons of misinformation floating around the Internet, on radio broadcasts, and television airwaves.
What is the opioid crisis?
The opioid crisis is a public health problem across the United States that began affecting society roughly 10 years ago.
In the early 1990s, Purdue Pharmaceuticals developed an extended-release form of oxycodone, an opioid first synthesized in 1916. Purdue Pharmaceuticals alleged that the “new-and-improved” drug, OxyContin, was not addictive. One of Oxycodone’s positive characteristics, according to the company, was that it couldn’t readily be abused.
This claim should have been refuted by the medical and pharmaceutical communities because opioids have long been known as addictive substances. Oxycodone is no exception to this rule.
Pharmaceutical tablets that contain drugs of recreational value are often abused by being crushed. Crushing tablets increases these drugs’ surface area, allowing users to readily insufflate them or prepare aqueous solutions with them to be administered rectally, intramuscularly, or intravenously. OxyContin was as easily crushed as any tablet on the market, effectively making them able to be abused.
In 2010, Purdue reformulated OxyContin. The new version of the company’s wunderkind was similar to plastic, making it much harder to abuse.
Further, prescribers across the United States began cutting down on the amount of opioids prescribed to patients a few years after Purdue’s formulation.
The juxtaposition of the federal government’s crackdown on the amount of opioids being prescribed and a business’ self-sanctioned decision to reformulate OxyContin resulted in many opioid users being unable to source opioids.
Why is the opioid crisis bad?
Prescription opioids are standardized, meaning users know exactly what they’re getting when they use them. Since heroin is criminalized in the United States, it is sold on an unregulated black market. Unable to hold manufacturers and distributors to rules, regulations, and industry standards, street heroin’s purity varies wildly and contains harmful adulterants.
Heroin, also known as Diacetylmorphine, is largely the same as opioids prescribed by doctors across the world, such as oxycodone, codeine, and morphine. As a matter of fact, heroin is broken down by the body into morphine after consumption.
One of these adulterants is Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is far more potent than heroin. Fentanyl is also readily produced and far cheaper than heroin. The drug also potentiates heroin in terms of pain relief and recreational value. Fentanyl has infiltrated the United States’ supply of heroin due to the government’s crackdown on opioids and the reformulation of OxyContin and other opioids like Opana.
Together with fentanyl, street heroin is far more dangerous than pharmaceutical-grade opioids. This has resulted in more overdoses and deaths than in previous years.
The estimated cost of a heroin user to people, businesses, and government agencies in the United States runs upward of $50,000. These costs come from the crime committed by active opioid addicts to source opioids and hospitalization from overdose and other health conditions related to opioid use like endocarditis.
How can individuals, organizations, and the government ease the pain caused by the opioid crisis?
Opioid users experience withdrawal, the body’s response to ceasing the use of certain drugs, when they discontinue opioid use. Withdrawal symptoms cause users to miss work and leave them generally unable to fulfill other obligations.
Methadone and buprenorphine are opioids used specifically as replacements to other opioids. They help opioid addicts function by preventing withdrawal. Unfortunately, buprenorphine, often prescribed under the brand names of Subutex or Suboxone, is expensive to source. Many opioid addicts simply can’t afford the costs associated with buprenorphine replacement treatment. People with opioid use disorder also find it difficult to adhere to methadone replacement treatment, as they’re required to travel to methadone clinics each and every day to receive doses.
Many opioid users are not interested in using either of these replacements because detoxing from them is widely considered to be more painful than ceasing the use of other opioids. Withdrawal symptoms also last much longer for methadone and buprenorphine withdrawals than other opioids’ withdrawals.
Kratom acts on the brain’s opioid receptors, causing people who are dependent on opioids to not feel symptoms of withdrawal. Also known by its scientific name of Mitragyna speciosa, Kratom’s withdrawal symptoms are far less serious than other opioids. Moreover, Kratom is far cheaper than all opioid replacement therapies available in the United States. Countless anecdotal reports from Kratom users indicate that the substance is effective at treating chronic pain, meaning that people who formerly used opioids to deal with chronic pain and currently use Kratom are less likely to return to opioid use.
Put simply, kratom fights opioid addiction.
What is Kratom, exactly?
Kratom refers to the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa trees. Native to Southeast Asia, the leaves of the Kratom tree have been used by laborers for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Thanks to its stimulant properties, Kratom has helped these laborers power through their workdays. The natural substance’s opioid-like characteristics have helped people alleviate pain.
Tests performed on samples of Mitragyna speciosa leaves have determined that dozens of alkaloids, natural substances that are psychoactive in humans, are present in the plant.
Because there are so many moving parts in Kratom, we have yet to understand precisely how the plant acts on the human brain.
A positive effect of buprenorphine is that opioid users are unable to feel the effects of traditional opioids for tens of hours after dosing. Although opioid users who are undergoing buprenorphine replacement treatment sometimes loathe this effect, the partial agonist effects of buprenorphine have been shown to help recovering opioid addicts stay clean for longer periods of time.
Why don’t opioid users keep using opioids instead of Kratom or other replacements?
Addiction is known to cause the strongest urges known to man. This is especially true of opioid addiction, as opioids are thought to be some of the most addictive drugs on planet Earth. Opioids are so addictive because they rewire how the brain works, causing addicts to become depressed and anxious when they quit using opioids. Combined with the physical withdrawal symptoms that stopping opioid use causes, the mental effects of opioid withdrawal are enough to make opioid addicts do nearly anything to establish a consistent source of opioids.
However, opioids are illegal if not prescribed to users. Simply possessing small amounts of heroin can send people to prison for several years.
Although they’re simple to produce, street opioids, including prescription opioids initially sourced from pharmacies, are expensive because of the nature of unregulated black markets.
These facts of opioid use make opioid users turn to Kratom. Kratom can be sourced more reliably, is far cheaper than street and pharmaceutical opioids alike, and is just as good at killing pain as traditional opioid painkillers. Put simply, Kratom fights opioid addiction – it does a fantastic job, too. We carry the finest in Kratom; shop a variety of Kratom species today.