Kratom, Heroin-Like Drug, Creating Buzz


The herbal stimulant kratom is creating a buzz among addictions specialists in the US due to its heroin-like effects in larger doses.  Currently, the drug is sold as a tea in many pharmacies, but has gained ground as the latest in organic and legal drugs in the US right now.

Kratom, or mitragyna speciosa, are wide and oval shaped, loosely resembling mint leaves.  The drug has been used as a herbal stimulant for years, but it has been discovered that in higher doses, it has the effect of sedation on those who take it.  There are YouTube testimonials from young men who have just taken the drug, saying that it is “an opiate with a roof where you can only get so high,” according to one of the videos.

Doses range anywhere from two to 10 grams, and kratom is generally sold as raw leaves or in pill form.  Prices can range from around $15 to as much as $50, depending on the quantity of capsules or how big of a bag of leaves you are purchasing.   It was, however, tagged on the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) list of Drugs and Chemicals of Concern in January 2013.

However, the heroin-like drug kratom appears to be creating a buzz among addictions specialists and law enforcement for all the wrong reasons.  The DEA’s investigation into the drug is ongoing, but the drug and those who sell it have gained steady numbers online.  Over 2,300 people like the topic of kratom on Facebook, and a Google search nets 652,000 hits.

The drug is currently being sold in smoke shops across the US, and while some states have banned the sale of the drug – Ohio and Indiana are among them – the drug is widely available online.  Some claim that it is an ideal medicine against pain and is good for helping induce sleep, but the drug is not approved for medical use anywhere in the US.

Massachussetts toxicologist Edward Boyer says the drug can cause liver damage and that children need to keep their distance from it.  Wesley Todd, who runs Mayan Kratom, says the drug helped him cope with the pain following a motorcycle accident, but the drug has become so big that his competition, Michael Pilney, who runs Lucky Kratom, allegedly offered undercover drug enforcement agents seven pounds of cocaine to kill Todd.  Pilney is currently facing solicitation of murder charges; Todd used to work for him.

Todd says kratom has become so popular that he has tens of thousands of customers across 47 states and two countries.  In spite of the popularity, though, Boyer says parents need to remain cautious about anything their children might be getting involved in.  Side effects of kratom use include anorexia, insomnia, weight loss, frequent urination and constipation.  While kratom has created quite the buzz in a variety of circles, the US Drug Enforcement Agency is continuing its investigation into the drug, and they are monitoring kratom closely.  According to the research from the DEA, those experiencing withdrawals from kratom could endure jerky limbs, achy muscles, and there is also the potential for kratom psychosis, where the user experiences delusions and confusion.

By Christina St-Jean



Drug Enforcement Agency

CBS Chicago


19 Responses to "Kratom, Heroin-Like Drug, Creating Buzz"

  1. stacy k   September 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    OK first of all I was on Rx meds and under a drs care until about three years ago. I was on narcotics, stimulants, antidepressants, anti anxiety, anti seizure, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers all for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and depression at first. Then after I started on the pain pills, stimulants and muscle relaxers I started having severe muscle spasms in my mouth and arms and legs. I couldn’t hold anything because at any moment I could spas out and throw said object. So I had to then go on anti seizure medicine. Now for the 3 years I was under a drs care and on all these medicines I suffered side effects. While on the rxs I ate, walked and nearly drove in my sleep. I was mentally psychotic a nd extremely violent and suicidal and still suffered pain everyday. And forget being able to work because I couldn’t even do that part time between the side effects of the rxs and how my diseases made me fee it was a no go. And I tried for those 3 years to get disability and was always denied. I did research on homeopathic ways to deal with my illnesses because my family and I couldn’t take me on rxs anymore. My husband and I were separated and he had custody of our children. I needed to change. Thankfully, I found kratom. The kratom plant by itself has proven to me to be 100% safer to use than the synthetic drugs doctors and the fda are pushing. And that’s proven every day by the TV commercials I see from the Rx meds themselves and those sponsored by lawyers. Why would I take a drug that could or has caused dangerous side effects by their own commercials? Why would I go on drugs that I know are dangerous for me when I have a plant to use that has caused zero side effects. I am pain free, mentally and emotionally stable, no longer suicidal or overly anxious and I work full time and take care of my home, family and ets. I even help with rebuilding my house after our house fire. These are just my views on this plant. I use kratom in an unadulterated form with other herbals please don’t blame a plant that by itself is as safe as coffee because some person may have added synthetic drugs to it. In its pure form kratom is safe and effective in my own personal experience. Thank you.

  2. Tyler   February 17, 2015 at 5:50 am

    Crappy biased journalism, from another bad journalist… Why don’t you go write about our legal drugs alcohol and tobacco they rip dads away from their kids and kill grandmas… Kratom has killed one person in the us. Furthermore you can’t compare Kratom to heroin cause you can’t shoot Kratom up or snort it..ten thumbs down

  3. brad   March 21, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    right, while the same people who know what is best for you are soon to be pushing zohyrdo on the public. funny how the fda is ok with zohydro and not kratom. nothing new from that corrupt org

  4. kimmain   March 21, 2014 at 4:21 am

    wow …these comments make me laugh out loud…why would you put your marketing skill tactics here????????

  5. jim   March 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    My best bud has been taking this stuff for a few years now.. it’s like crack to him, if he doesn’t have it, he’s pissed at the world and goes through great lengths to get it when he’s out. I can always tell when he gets his shipment in.. he will lie in bed all day and do nothing but watch tv.. I mess with him all the time, “tea time huh bud”. he’s better off smoking a joint, at least it wont kill ALL his motivation. unless you have some sort of will power and don’t have a history of abuse…this stuff is for the birds.

  6. Jason C.   March 13, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    When I see articles like this I get depressed. I’ve been taking kratom three times a week for two years. Since taking it I haven’t had to take one anti-depressant or anti-anxiety synthetic. And most of all it has taken away any cravings for alcohol (I used to binge drink). Since taken this I haven’t had one episode. I wouldn’t call something a “heroin like substance” that very well saved my career, relationship, and life. But like I said I get depressed because articles like this will get this banned and then it’s back to hell the way I see it. Thanks.

  7. Pete Weber   March 10, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Wow… Kratom a “heroin-like” substance? Did you spend even 5 minutes researching this substance before spitting out this garbage?

  8. KamaKazi Kratom   March 10, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Introducing KamaKazi KratOm!
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  9. Kyle   March 9, 2014 at 11:01 am

    everyone is bashing it but you can try it yourself with a free sample and make your own informative opinion @

  10. Holly Currier   March 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Maybe the reason why the addiction specialists are so concerned about kratom is because it poses a risk of putting them out of the methadone/suboxone business.

  11. ethan franc   March 3, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Wow. It’s disturbing to read this type of hogwash on something that purports to be a news website. As stated, the addiction level of Kratom is nowhere near the level of nicotine or alcohol, and the withdrawals are not even as bad as from coffee! (My brother has had vomiting and debilitating headaches from coffee withdrawal in the past, and after months of daily Kratom use, my “withdrawal” involved…. nothing! And then I stopped using it for weeks, then I used it again for months, etc. etc…)
    I understand the need for people to have something scary to read – read some Stephen King – not these lies sold as facts!
    There are a handful of these articles – all getting recycled from the same trashy sources. If that’s all someone reads, it would be easy to think that Kratom is a “drug” that’s as dangerous as Heroin! If someone takes the time to discover the truth, this crap will wilt under the light of truth!
    As far as the guys wanting to kill one another, I’m sure there was bad blood in the separation – and anywhere greed is involved, darkness resides. Kratom is not the culprit, greed and money lust are!!

  12. kent wardecke   March 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I find this article hard to swallow. I’m 46 years old and have been eating kratom for two years. The positives are too many to list. I wish the the publisher and the author would take the time to learn about the plant and do a sensational piece on the positives instead of trying to scare us all away from another plant leaf.

  13. John   March 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Horrid article. Lies written with the skill level of a high school freshman.

  14. Kratom   March 1, 2014 at 12:11 am

    The comments speak for themselves.

  15. Chris   February 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I’ve been using kratom for 2 years with zero health problems. No liver toxicity in my blood work. Kratom allows me to stay positive in a world of pain! cschaive

  16. Sarah Compton   February 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Another sensationalistic “news” article full of half-truths. Journalistic integrity is obviously lacking here. Do your research. The mitragyna speciosa (Kratom) plant shares more chemical similarity to caffeine than heroin. But, since it affects the opiate receptors and helps relieve pain, of course it must be constantly reported on as “heroin-like”. This is b*llsh*t. Like any other mind-altering substance (caffeine, over the counter painkillers, etc) MODERATION is key. Millions of people find benefit from kratom in low dosages as a natural effective painkiller and anti-anxiety treatment. But…since it’s a natural plant and not a synthetically created substance sold by a pharmaceutical company and padding the pockets of the FDA, the fear-mongering and ignorance continues. Every day a new story appears, but none of them presenting the truth.

  17. Brennan   February 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Idiots. Don’t believe this garbage. Do your own research. Kratom is absolutely nothing like this. I’ve been taking Kratom for a decade now. I think myself is living proof that it’s completely harmless. Please stop spreading garbage misinformation about harmless herbs. Your subjecting it to more criminalization which is very unfair to the Kratom community.. STOP!

  18. cnc23   February 28, 2014 at 11:55 am

    This is sensationalism at its finest. Nothing to see here.

  19. cnc23   February 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Simply another writer with an agenda. Biased reporting, similar to the fear mongering of marijuana prohibition. Kratom is not more addictive than cigarettes, and definitely not as dangerous as alcohol. Zero deaths have been attributed to this natural remedy, so one has to wonder, who is really behind this push to get kratom banned? Sounds like someone pushing the motives of big pharma to me…


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