Local woman says plant-based drug helped her recover from addiction

Local News

Jennifer McColl tells us opioid addiction ran her life for more than 20 years.  She says her savior came from a plant. 

“It’s amazing. It just gives you a whole new life.” 

Now, two-and-a-half years sober, she says a substance called ‘kratom’ is to thank.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, kratom is a tropical tree with leaves containing compounds that can have mind-altering effects.

McColl says, “It can just get you to where you’re free and able to do without worry.” 

Although kratom isn’t approved by the FDA, it is still legal, and you can find it at places like ‘Hippy and the Hound’.

But, a spokesperson with Gaudenzia Erie Jason Kisielewski says at this point, kratom would never enter their facilities. 

“The verdict is still out on kratom, mainly because it is still so new that a lot of studies are still being done to determine the effects, both positive and negative. My concern with it is that it’s already been linked in 2017 to at least 44 deaths.”

Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse states, “most kratom associated deaths appear to have resulted from adulterated products (other drugs mixed in with the kratom) or taking kratom along with other potent substances.”

However, Kisielewski agrees there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to treatment. He says the first step should be getting a thorough drug and alcohol assessment. 

“One of the things that we also preach as well is to focus on the therapeutic and holistic approach — not just the abstinence of drugs, but changing your attitudes, changing your behaviors.” 

A salesman at Hippy and the Hound tells us kratom is essentially flying off the shelves, with people recovering from addiction being their primary customers.

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