New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

New Psychoactive Substances, "Legal Highs", Synthetic Cannabinoids

Toxic Effects of Kratom

(Toxic Effects of Kratom) "During the past 3 years, there have been an increasing number of case reports15,17,29 describing unusual adverse reactions in patients who had been using kratom or kratom-based products. The acute adverse effects of kratom experienced by many users appear to be a direct result of kratom's stimulant and opioid activities.6,9,11,30,31 Stimulant effects may manifest themselves in some individuals as anxiety, irritability, and increased aggression. Opioid-like effects include sedation, nausea, constipation, and itching.

Analgesic and opioid-like effects of Kratom

(Analgesic and opioid-like effects of Kratom) "In Southeast Asia, kratom has long been used for the management of pain and opium withdrawal.6,9-11,14 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.20,27 It is these aspects of kratom pharmacology that have received the most scientific attention.

Current Legal Status of Kratom in the US

(Current Legal Status of Kratom in the US) "Although the findings of our literature and Internet searches strongly suggest a marked increase in kratom use in the United States and Europe, kratom still appears to be somewhat of an 'underground phenomenon.' During our searches of the literature and the internet, we found no evidence that kratom is currently marketed by any of the large nutritional supplement chain stores in the United States.

Current Use of Kratom in the US

(Current Use of Kratom in the US) "Evidence suggests that kratom is being used extensively for both medical and nonmedical purposes. Recent studies have shown that kratom contains a variety of active compounds that produce major pharmacologic effects at opioid and other receptors. Kratom and kratom-derived drugs may potentially be used for the management of pain, opioid withdrawal symptoms, and other clinical problems. At the same time, serious questions remain regarding the potential toxic effects and the abuse and addiction potential of kratom.

Limited Understanding of Synthetic Cannabinoids

(Limited Understanding of Synthetic Cannabinoids) "Much of our understanding of cannabinoid tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal has been based on studies involving ?9-THC, a relatively weak partial agonist at CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, the SCBs [Synthetic Cannabinoids] commonly found in quasi-legal commercial products, such as K2 and Spice, are typically full cannabinoid receptor agonists. Importantly, a drug’s efficacy determines how 'powerful' its maximal effects may be in biological systems.

Stigmatization and Inhumane Treatment of Krokodil Users

(Stigmatization and Inhumane Treatment of Krokodil Users) "In Russia and many other post-Soviet countries, the old ideology lingers on in narcological institutes, out of sync with modern public and mental health concepts (Grund et al., 2009). Many narcologists continue to view addiction as criminal or moral deviance and not as a disease. Narcological dispensaries continue to share information with law enforcement (Mendelevich, 2011). The threat of removal of child custody rights may impede women’s access to health care in particular (Shields, 2009).

Harms Associated with Krokodil Use

(Harms Associated with Krokodil Use) "In recent years, harm reduction and drug treatment services from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan began reporting severe health consequences associated with krokodil injecting. Although serious localized and systemic harms have previously been associated with injecting homemade opiates and stimulants in the region (Grund, 2002; Volik, 2008), the harms associated with krokodil injecting are extreme and unprecedented.

Krokodil - Reasons and Risks

(Krokodil - Reasons and Risks) "In sum, these observations suggest that the relatively limited availability of black market opiates and stimulants and the relative ease of harvesting legal precursors to powerful analogues from the countryside and pharmacies inspired and sustained a Soviet-style homemade drug culture in the Eastern European region that remains radically different from those observed in countries where narco-traffickers dominate the production and distribution of drugs (Booth, Kennedy, Brewster, & Semerik, 2003; Grund et al., 2009; Grund, 2005; Subata &

Prevalence of Krokodile Use

(Prevalence of Krokodile Use) "The estimated number of PWID in Russia was close to 2 million in 2008 (Mathers et al., 2008). 2.3% of the Russian population uses opioids annually and 1.4% heroin, compared to an annual prevalence of 0.4% opioid use in Western and Central Europe (UNODC, 2012).

Krokodil Production

(Krokodil Production) "In considering the drug krokodil, two aspects are of importance, its pharmacology and its chemistry. The short half-life, limited high after the impact effect and, in particular the need for frequent administration may narrow the attention of users on the (circular) process of acquiring, preparing and administering the drug, leaving little time for matters other than avoiding withdrawal and chasing high, as reported in several popular magazines (e.g. Shuster, 2011; Walker, 2011).