In 2017, the state of Washington had 23 cases of Salmonella associated with the outbreak. "Out of 11 people interviewed, eight (73 percent) reported consuming kratom". Of 28 people infected, 11 have been hospitalized. Kratom is not a synthetic substance.
The bad news about kratom continues with the CDC's announcement, which says a nationwide bout of salmonellosis, or salmonella infections, may be related to it. Twenty-eight people from 20 states across the country had come down with same strain of salmonella as of February 16, according to the CDC. The outbreak has affected individuals in multiple states, according to the CDC, which says it is recommending that people abstain from kratom use until further notice. The plant has a similar effect to narcotics and has led to recreational use as an alternative to opioids.
The Food and Drug Administration also is part of the investigation. The CDC says it is not clear how it could have gotten into supplies of kratom.
Unfortunately, investigators haven't been able to identify any particular supplier or brand behind the outbreaks at this time, so it is best to exercise caution and not consume any kratom products.
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Safety checks of kratom products - which Amazon sells for around $20 - are tricky because the substance falls into a legal and regulatory gray area in the US.
In previous statements, Gottlieb said the FDA needs to weigh all available evidence and ask whether the use of kratom could increase the opioid epidemic, yet he also acknowledged that if the proponents are right, kratom could be used as an alternate tool to treat the addiction.
Kratom contains alkaloids which bind with the same opiate receptors in the brain that prescription and street opioid drugs do. It is not an FDA-approved drug.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) tried to have the substance classified as a Schedule 1 drug - alongside heroin, ecstasy and marijuana - in 2016, but the attempt was met with public outrage, and Congress urged authorities to allow the public to comment on kratom before outlawing it.