Kratom, a plant-based opioid substitute, is listed as a drug of concern by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, though it's not banned in Nevada. Some consumers have hailed the drug as a "natural" pain remedy, but some medical experts say it can be unsafe, even deadly.
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 substance has also been blamed for the deaths of at least 36 people, according to warnings issued the Food and Drug Administration in November.
When patients were asked what they had consumed in the months before becoming sick, eight of eleven patients agreed of taking in Kratom pills, powders or teas.
He noted that there have been 44 reported deaths associated with kratom use.
Three people have been sickened in California, where the kratom is legal (except in San Diego, which passed a city ordinance against the substance). While it investigates, the agency is recommending people abstain from using the product.
Germs invade supplements, Kratom in Salmonella as health representatives have warned Americans not to consume Kratom.
The herbal drug kratom is under fire for the second time this month. Kratom advocates claim that the herbal supplement may be used to help opioid addicts get through withdrawal symptoms in weaning themselves off the powerful painkillers. Kratom is a plant that grows in Southeast Asia. According to an FDA analysis, also released on February 6, one of the main compounds in kratom-mitragynine-may bind to the same kinds of receptors in the body as an opioid.
"I want to be clear on one fact: there are now no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom", Gottlieb said. "We appreciate the cooperation of companies now marketing any kratom product for human consumption to take swift action to remove these products from circulation to protect the public".