The informal use of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) for opioid withdrawal in the northern states of peninsular Malaysia and implications for drug substitution therapy

01 January 2018
The informal use of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) for opioid withdrawal in the northern states of peninsular Malaysia and implications for drug substitution therapy

A cross-sectional survey of 136 active users was conducted in the northern states of Kedah and

Penang in Malaysia. On-site urine screening was done for other substance use.

Findings: Ketum users were relatively older (mean 38.7 years) than the larger substance using group.

Nearly 77% (104 subjects) had previous drug use history, whilst urine screening confirmed 62 subjects

were also using other substances. Longer-term users (use >2 years) had higher odds of being married, of

consuming more than the average three glasses of ketum a day and reporting better appetite. Short-term

users had higher odds of having ever used heroin, testing positive for heroin and of using Kratom to reduce

addiction to other drugs. Both groups used Kratom to reduce their intake of more expensive opiates, to

manage withdrawal symptoms and because it was cheaper than heroin.

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