While many people have not heard of kratom, it has become a popular source for a lot of people who are looking for an alternative drug. While it is not yet illegal in the United States, kratom can be addictive and dangerous to users. When combined with another substance, the risk for harm increases, making the dangers of kratom and alcohol a real concern for people who use them together.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is a substance originating from a tree native to Southeast Asia, the Mitragyna speciosa. People put the leaves from this tree in tea, on food, in cigarettes, and pills. Kratom users purchase kratom as a powder, an extract, or a gum.
Kratom is classified as a mind-altering substance, due to the psychotropic reaction users experience after ingesting it. While not illegal in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies it as a “drug of concern.” Meanwhile, many other countries have outlawed kratom.
Kratom is sold on the street, in some shops, and over the internet. Advertisements often describe Kratom as an herbal supplement or dietary aid. Street names for kratom include Ketum, thang, and Thom.
Compared to other substances, the medical community knows very little about kratom. There is little information about how kratom interacts with other substances when ingested, including over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and allergy medications. Also, little is known about how kratom interacts with prescription medications, other herbal supplements, and vitamins.
The Dangers of Mixing Kratom and Alcohol
Many people who use kratom combine it with other substances. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that from 2011 to 2017, around eight out of ten deaths involving kratom happened to a person with a history of substance abuse. Also, the CDC went on to state that most recorded deaths from kratom overdose involved at least one other substance.
One of the more popular ways of using kratom is to combine it with alcohol. The practice of dangers of kratom and alcohol has become a concern among those in the addiction treatment community.
Combining kratom and alcohol is dangerous is because alcohol is a depressant that alters a person’s perception, motor skills, and other senses. Meanwhile, kratom provides stimulant effects while also acting as a sedative. Moreover, when an individual combines a depressant with a sedative or stimulant, the results can be deadly.
Side Effects of Kratom and Alcohol
A person who combines kratom and alcohol may experience dangerous side effects. Because both are legal in the U.S., people tend to underestimate the side effects of either drug. Side effects of kratom and alcohol can include:
- Elevated heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Loss of coordination
- Poor muscle control
- High blood pressure
- Altered perception of time and events
What Are the Risks of Mixing Kratom and Alcohol?
Many people use of kratom to help intensify the effects of alcohol. However, they often don’t realize that alcohol’s depressant effects reduce kratom’s stimulant effects, and so they consume more kratom. After all, repeatedly piling one drug on top of another can lead to dangerous medical symptoms, including overdose.
A person who has overdosed on kratom combined with alcohol may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shallow or slowed breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
Like other controversial supplements sold in the U.S., no federal or state agencies monitor the production of kratom products. For this reason, kratom is often cut with dangerous substances like salmonella and heavy metals. The side effects of using kratom that have been cut with such substances include cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, fever, and kidney damage.
Treatment Options for Kratom and Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love is experiencing the dangers of kratom and alcohol abuse, Launch Centers can help. We offer proven substance abuse treatment that includes clinical and holistic treatment. We provide options for outpatient and inpatient programs that include high school and college courses. Contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles today to get started on a life of recovery and wellness.