By Dr. Mercola
The overprescription of powerful opioid drugs to treat everything from back pain to arthritis has resulted in an unprecedented crisis of overdose and death in the U.S. Even when taken as directed, prescription opioids can lead to addiction as well as tolerance, which means you need an increasingly stronger dose to get the pain-relieving effects. Physical dependence, in which you suffer withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drugs, is common.1
In fact, more than 91 Americans fatally overdose on opioids every day.2 The statistic includes prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl, but many of the deaths stem from prescription drug use. Of the more than 33,000 Americans killed by opioids in 2015, nearly half of them involved a prescription for the drugs.3
However, rather than cracking down on the prescription opioids that are the root of the problem, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going after a natural plant called kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), even going so far as to issue a warning that consumer groups say is patently false.
FDA Warns of ‘Deadly Risks’ Associated With Kratom
Kratom is a plant native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, which has become popular as an opioid alternative in the U.S. Leaves from the kratom tree have been used for pain relief for hundreds of years, but scientists now know they contain compounds that target the brain similarly to opioids, helping to relieve pain.
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Unlike opioid drugs, however, which can cause slowed breathing, or respiratory depression that’s deadly (respiratory depression is the leading…