A 20-state salmonella outbreak and a recall of dietary supplements center both are being blamed on the plant kratom, crunched by attacks of two government agencies this week. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration tried but failed to classify the plant as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Some consumers have hailed the drug as a "natural" pain remedy, but some medical experts say it can be risky, even deadly.
On Feb. 20, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that it was investigating, along with FDA, a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella that has infected 28 people in 20 states in the United States.
It's still unclear what is at the root of the outbreak, since only eight out of 11 people interviewed said they had taken the supplement, but the warning is not unusual for the CDC. No deaths have been reported thus far. "In addition to this outbreak, kratom is an opioid; expected to have similar risk of addiction, abuse and death".
Kratom enthusiasts say it's enjoyable to use recreationally, but say it is also useful for treating withdrawal from opioid use and can be used to treat pain. It warned that people who use kratom in place of opioids subject themselves "to an unregulated product that has not been proven safe or effective".
The herbal drug kratom is under fire for the second time this month.
Initial findings from the investigation, however, indicated that kratom is the source of the salmonella outbreak. "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".
"We know that some patients are using kratom because they believe it can help treat their opioid dependency, but there's no reliable evidence to support kratom's effectiveness for this use; and we're deeply committed to making sure patients have access to safe, effective treatment options", he said.
"Kratom is a plant native to southeast Asia that is consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute", according to the CDC notice.