Adrian Lamo is most famous for turning U.S. Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning in to the authorities, but was already well-known among hackers and journalists because of his penetration of The New York Times' source database, subsequent conviction for the hack, and his sparkling personality. He died mysteriously last year in what many assumed was suicide or murder, but NPR's Dina Temple-Raston investigated his last months and found a tragic figure in failing health, evicted by his carers and in chronic pain. He likely died overdosing prescription drugs, kratom and nootropics after suffering a twisted leg.
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His doctor was in the process of weaning him off some of the medications, including reducing the three different benzodiazepines he was taking. That is of particular interest because about a month before Lamo died, the FDA came out with a medical alert — a warning against mixing benzos with kratom. The combination had been linked to dozens of deaths.
"A few assessable cases with fatal outcomes raise concern that kratom is being used in combination with other drugs that affect the brain, including ... benzodiazepines," the alert read. Rohrig said Lamo had a handful of what he called designer benzos in his system, some of which weren't available by prescription in the U.S.
"The most common way of getting these particular ones is basically off the Internet," Rohrig told us. "You can order them and have them shipped to whatever address you want." Debbie Scroggin assumed that lots of the pills and supplements coming into the house were in those packages addressed to Adrian Alfonso.
Kratom (previously) is a widely used herb that has been very effective in treating opioid withdrawal and other chronic, hard-to-treat conditions -- it also became very controversial this year because the DEA decided, without evidence, to class it as a dangerous drug, and then changed its mind (unprecedented!) after a mass-scale petition that included interventions from members of Congress. Read the rest
Kratom is a mildly psychoactive plant that has been used in Asia for centuries to treat pain, fatigue, depression,and anxiety. In the US it has shown promise as a way to help people who are addicted to opiates. The DEA recently announced that it is going to make kratom a Schedule I drug, which will make it very difficult for researchers to study any potential medical uses it might have.
From The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association:
In Southeast Asia, kratom has long been used for the management of pain and opium withdrawal. In the West, kratom is increasingly being used by individuals for the self-management of pain or withdrawal from opioid drugs such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. It is these aspects of kratom pharmacology that have received the most scientific attention. Although to our knowledge, no well-controlled clinical studies on the effects of kratom on humans have been published, there is evidence that kratom, kratom extracts, and molecules isolated from kratom can alleviate various forms of pain in animal models.
In response to the DEA's decision, 127,891 people have signed a White House petition to keep kratom off Schedule I. The White House is now required to respond within 60 days. Read the rest
Kratom is a herb that has been in widespread use in Southeast Asia for centuries; it is chewed for to increase stamina, induce gentle euphoria and relaxation, and it has also been used with unheard-of success to help people kick their addictions to opioid painkillers. Read the rest
Kratom is an herbal supplement that's become popular in recent years in the United States. Kratom users say taking capsules of the powdered herb helps with social anxiety, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it intends to place two of kratom’s psychoactive chemicals into its list of Schedule I controlled substances, on temporary basis, citing the necessity "to
avoid an imminent hazard to public safety."
According to the DEA, substances in Schedule I "are those that have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision."
From the DEA's announcement:
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Evidence from poison control centers in the United States also shows that there is an
increase in the number of individuals abusing kratom, which contains the main active
alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. As such, there has been a steady
increase in the reporting of kratom exposures by poison control centers. The American
Association of Poison Control Centers identified two exposures to kratom between 2000
and 2005. Additionally, the Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN), which is comprised
of six poison centers that service the State of Texas, reported 14 exposures to kratom
between January 2009 and September 2013. Between January 2010 and December 2015
U.S. poison centers received 660 calls related to kratom exposure. During this time, there
was a tenfold increase in the number of calls received, from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015.
Six US states have banned the sale and use of the Kratom, a psychoactive plant-derived drug from Southeast Asia that is available online and in head shops. Researchers studying kratom have found that it affects brain receptors for strong opioids.
A new study provides some data to support those states’ concerns (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b00360). A team of researchers shows for the first time that kratom’s primary constituent, mitragynine, and four related alkaloids bind to and partially activate human µ-opioid receptors (MORs), the primary targets of strong opioids in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract.
Countdown to kratom landing on the list of federally controlled substances in 3... 2... 1... Read the rest