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Calls to U.S. poison control centers related to the herbal drug kratom have skyrocketed, increasing more than 50-fold in a matter of six years, a new study shows.
Back in 2011, poison centers received about one call a month regarding someone who’d taken too much kratom, a plant that is purported to produce mild opioid-like effects.
These days, nearly two calls a day are received concerning kratom exposures, researchers report in the Feb. 21 issue of the journal Clinical Toxicology.
“We’re now getting literally hundreds of cases a year versus 10 or 20,” said researcher Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. He noted that kratom reports underwent a “relatively big spike” sometime between 2015 and 2016.