Salmonella Outbreak Possibly Connected to Opioid Substitute

21 February, 2018, 04:45 | Author: Darrell Lopez
  • Kratom is an unregulated herbal supplement promoted as an alternative pain remedy

However, Hemby told CNN that kratom acts much less effectively than prescription opioids or heroin, and that the total amount of these compounds in the plant as a whole is so low that it's unlikely to lead to abuse or addiction.

The substance has also been blamed for the deaths of at least 36 people, according to warnings issued the Food and Drug Administration in November.

The agency, which urged consumers to not use kratom in any form because of the possibility of contamination, said the infections started in October and have affected 20 states.

However, "at this time, CDC recommends that people not consume kratom in any form because it could be contaminated with Salmonella", the CDC's website states. 11 people nationwide have been hospitalized. The American Kratom Association, which promotes access to the herb, is launching an online campaign this week, using the slogan #IamKratom, to increase support. In the United States, kratom items are sold as powders, pills, cases and even caffeinated drinks.

The CDC is now conducting an investigation into the outbreak, which has hit people in California, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New York, and other states.

Due to the Salmonella bacteria that causes the foodborne illness salmonellosis, those infected develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

"Investigation findings link the outbreak to kratom products", the CDC said.

Kratom is the name used for leaves from an evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia. Evidence suggests that the source of the outbreak is possibly kratom, which is a plant that is used as a substitute to opioids.

"Cases of mixing kratom, other opioids and other types of medication is extremely troubling because the activity of kratom at opioid receptors indicates there may be similar risks of combining kratom with certain drugs, just as there are with FDA-approved opioids", Gottlieb said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is looking at a strong restriction on the sales of kratom, which is now traded freely on the internet and in some stores.

So with the two agencies hamstrung, kratom remains in a federal limbo, although it has been banned in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin.



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