Study Links Drug Overdose Deaths with Kratom

April 15th 2019
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh

Kratom is currently not federally scheduled as a controlled substance, but it is considered a drug of concern.

Kratom is currently not federally scheduled as a controlled substance, but it is considered a drug of concern. Additionally, a new report by the CDC found that kratom caused 91 overdose deaths in 27 states.

1

The CDC analyzed data from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS), which contains detailed information on opioid overdose deaths from death certificates and medical examiner and coroner reports.

Kratom overdoses are included in SUDORS even though it is not an opioid.

1

The CDC analyzed data from 27 states during July 2016-December 2017, and 27,338 overdose deaths occurred during the study timeframe. Additionally, in 152 of these deaths, the individual tested positive for kratom, according to the toxicology reports. Kratom was considered to be the cause of death for 91 of those that tested positive for the substance.

1

Some noteworthy points of the study include that about 80% of the individuals had a history of substance abuse, and approximately 90% were not receiving documented treatment for pain.

Almost all individuals tested positive for multiple substances, with fentanyl and fentanyl analogs being the most common, while other substances included heroin, benzodiazepines, and prescription opioids. There were 7 individuals that only tested positive for kratom.

11

A version of this article was originally published by Pharmacy Times. View the full article atPharmacyTimes.com.

References

  1. Olsen EO, O’Donnell J, Mattson CL, Schier JG, Wilson N.Notes from the Field: Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths with Kratom Detected-27 States, July 2016-December 2017.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep2019;68:326-327. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6814a2.
  2. Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD on new warning letters FDA is issuing to companies marketing kratom with unproven medical claims; and the agency’s ongoing concerns about kratom [FDA statement]. FDA website.https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm620106.htm. Published September 11, 2018. Accessed April 12, 2019.

Related Content