Waiter, There’s Still Salmonella in My Kratom

An outbreak of salmonella linked to the herbal supplement kratom continues to grow. Kratom is used in low doses as a stimulant and in high doses as a pain reliever. Because kratom gives users a “legal high” it has skyrocketed in popularity, though its effects are not entirely understood. Additionally, the FDA, which would like to classify kratom as an opiate, has linked 44 reported deaths to the use of kratom.

According to the most recent update by the CDC, 35 states are now reporting outbreaks linked to kratom, with a total case count of 87. This is over double the number of cases reported earlier in March. Additionally, 35 percent of those infected have been hospitalized. No common brands or suppliers have been identified and because of this, the CDC recommends against consuming any kratom. This hasn’t stopped stores from advertising the product though, as evidenced by this brightly lit sign down the street from me:

I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money, but certainly there’s a better use for $40 than risking diarrhea for days and potential hospitalization.

Salmonella Infected Kratom

Kratom, a controversial plant used by people as an opiate substitute and recreational drug, has been linked to a salmonella outbreak. Health officials are warning that people should avoid kratom entirely, and smoke marijuana instead. Just kidding about second part.

Kratom, an “herbal supplement,” is used in low doses as a stimulant and in high doses as a pain reliever. According to WebMD,  “Its leaves have been used for hundreds of years to relieve pain. They can be eaten raw, but more often they’re crushed and brewed as tea or turned into capsules, tablets, and liquids.” Because kratom gives users a “legal high” it has skyrocketed in popularity, though its effects are not entirely understood. And desperate for something to ease the opiate epidemic, kratom has taken on a cult like following among some people.

The CDC reports that so far, 40 people have been infected with salmonella-laced kratom in 27 states. No deaths have been reported. The Washington Post sums up the two sides in the ongoing kratom battle:

Rapidly rising in popularity, kratom is hailed as a readily available pain remedy that is safer than traditional opioids (such as oxycodone), an effective addiction withdrawal aid and a pleasurable recreational tonic. Kratom also is assailed as a dangerous and unregulated drug that can be purchased on the Internet, a habit-forming substance that authorities say can result in opioid-like abuse and death.

Regardless, your kratom is likely tainted with salmonella so stop using it, unless you’re willing to risk days worth of diarrhea.