Anyone who has visited a convenience store or gas station in the past few years has seen the countertop displays for capsules or bags of powdered kratom. This herbal sedative has been around for centuries, but has recently gained prominence here in the United States as it purports to offer a milder version of the euphoric, pain-relieving effects of opiates without the risk of overdose or addiction. These unsubstantiated claims are not to be trusted, and those of us in recovery should absolutely steer clear of this mind and mood altering substance as it could easily lead you right back to the depths of your addiction from which you have worked so hard to recover.
The fact that kratom is freely available for purchase without any restrictions belies its harmful nature. While many believe this substance is mild enough to be non-habit forming, this could not be farther from the truth. Chemicals contained within this compound operate on opiate receptors in the brain the same as heroin and fentanyl, the only difference being a lower level of potency. Despite kratom’s comparatively weaker effect on these receptors than that of traditional opiates, there is still a substantial risk for addiction and physical dependence to develop as a result of regular ingestion of this drug. These facts alone indicate kratom is a dangerous substance and should be avoided by addicts and non-addicts alike.
For those of us living in recovery, the use of kratom must be considered a relapse, as this is a mind and mood altering substance which no one receives instructions from a physician to ingest. Sadly, kratom has garnered a significant following for those in early recovery who believe it to be a viable method of “staying clean” from more powerful opiates. This misguided notion is similar to those who believe marijuana maintenance is an effective method of ensuring sobriety. Nothing could be further from the truth - regular use of these substances is not indicative of a person recovering from substance abuse, but rather their having found a new substance to abuse. The fact that you are able to maintain a certain level of functionality and can financially sustain these habits does not make them any less harmful than your original addiction.
Kratom currently enjoys its status as an unregulated and widely available substance purveyed across the United States through online marketplaces as well as gas stations and convenience stores. While you may believe this indicates kratom has a relatively harmless effect on the body, the fact of the matter is kratom operates on the body in much the same was as other, powerful opiates, and as such carries with it the same risks of addiction, physical dependence, and even overdose. Until a plethora of medical and scientific studies are completed to determine the nature, side effects, and other details surrounding the use of kratom in humans, it is best to proceed with caution. For those in recovery, kratom is off limits regardless of what medical studies conclude, as this mind altering substance will lead us right back to our drug of choice just the same as any other. Do not make the mistake of relapsing on kratom, for it is a relapse and will damage your efforts in your recovery!