Kratom: An Alternative to Opioids, or Another Addiction? Readers Debate. | Westword

Reader: Kratom Saved My Life From a Heroin Addiction

The war over kratom's effectiveness continues. After Denver banned the herbal substance in Denver, supporters came out in droves to advocate for the plant that some argue can ween people off opioids. Others argue it is an addictive, over-hyped substance.
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The debate over kratom's effectiveness continues. After Denver banned the herbal substance, supporters came out in droves to advocate for the plant that some say can ween people off opioids. Others claim that it is an addictive, overhyped substance. And after we published a story in which one user argued that kratom had ruined his life, readers were quick to respond. Says Luke: 
Sucks for him. Kratom saved my life from heroin addiction.
Adds Rachel:
Kratom is a derivative of the coffee plant, its chemical makeup is nowhere near marijuana or any illegal drug... the guy's own account of his "addiction" literally sounds like an average coffee-drinker. Guys, you can be addicted to ANYTHING if you really try. What's next, Westword? You gonna start writing about the "addicted" people who eat cotton balls every day?
Jeffrey argues:
I worked with a guy who would drink Kratom all day. It would give him a little pep for an hour or so, and then he would crash so hard that he would pass out virtually anywhere, including the parking lot. He didn’t have a car.
Broderick notes:
Nice propaganda piece.
Keep reading for more stories about kratom.
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"Kratom, Marijuana Can Help People Kick Opiates, Addiction Expert Says"

Faith Day created the Clean Kratom Wellness Center and continues to operate it.
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A protest at the Colorado State Capitol in September 2016, during a period when the Drug Enforcement Administration was advocating for labeling kratom as a Schedule I narcotic.
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"Inside the War on Kratom in Denver and Beyond"

The scientific name for the kratom plant is Mitragyna speciosa, with the "mitra" prefix reflecting the shape of the leaves, which are thought to resemble a bishop's mitre.
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"If Kratom Sales Are Banned, Advocate Says, Users May Go Back to Heroin"

The newest Herbal Imports is off the intersection of Kentucky Avenue and South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale.
Courtesy of Colorado Herbal Imports
"Colorado Herbal Imports Opens Second Outpost for Kratom and More in Glendale"

The Denver-area resident who spoke at length to Westword warned that kratom isn't always benign, especially for people like him with addictive personalities. In his words, "Kratom ruined my life."

Even many proponents acknowledge that kratom isn't entirely risk-free. One example is Roxanne Gullikson, facility director for Portland, Maine's Greener Pastures Holisticare, which has developed a treatment program using kratom and marijuana to help people hooked on heroin to kick the habit. "Some people can become dependent on kratom for two simple reasons," she said in February. "One is that it works, and as humans, we're naturally attracted to anything that works. But it's also a plant in the coffee family, and coffee can have that effect, too."

Gullikson added, "If you don't use kratom mindfully, it does have factors where you can build a tolerance to it — so if you're using a lot of it, you need higher amounts. But I personally know people who take high doses of kratom every day, and it's done nothing but give them their lives back, because they're not using the pharmaceutical that turned them into addicts."

What do you think about kratom? Let us know in a comment or a note to [email protected].
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