ATLANTA, Ga. — An herbal over-the-counter drug was a cause in the overdose deaths of 91 people from July 2016 to December 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC also noted that in about 60 of those kratom-related deaths, fentanyl was a co-cause.
A clinic worker at Northside Forsyth Hospital in Cumming, Georgia, said they’ve treated several kratom overdose cases.
"When we have seen them coming in, they have some kind of psychotic episode where they are hallucinating. Some are unconscious,” said Antwan Brownlee, behavioral health clinician at Northside Forsyth Hospital. “From this EMS report, they had given the patient Narcan, and the person was responsive when we started to do the evaluation."
The DEA is considering criminalizing kratom, saying it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment.
But a Cobb County, Georgia, woman doesn't agree.
Christy Garner said kratom has helped her battle chronic pain, while stopping her addiction to opiates.
"It's given me a new life. When it's used responsibly, it's a miracle supplement,” Garner said.
Poison centers have noted a spike in calls related to kratom.
The FDA and DEA have solicited public comment on a proposal to criminalize the possession and sale of kratom.
More than 100,000 have signed petitions opposing plans to make kratom illegal.
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