Oregon’s public health officer says buyers need to beware of an herbal supplement called kratom.
Kratom grows in Southeast Asia but has recently gained popularity in the U.S. for treating everything from pain to depression. It’s also used recreationally.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about kratom, citing 36 deaths nationally. That, in turn, prompted Lane County, Oregon, to issue a warning, urging people not to use the product.
Oregon public health officer Dr. Katrina Hedberg said kratom is not well regulated. “People assume that because it’s natural and it’s being sold at a store it must be OK for you or healthy. And that is not the case," Hedberg said.
On average, less than two people show up at Oregon emergency rooms each week for issues associated with kratom.