There is some controversy around reported kratom mortality risks associated with kratom use. Kratom is a plant-based substance that has opioid-like effects and has been used as an alternative to opioids for pain management and as a potential aid for opioid addiction.
Let's dive in to mortality risks, and specifically, kratom mortality risk:
Leading Causes of Preventable death in the United States: Mortality Risk
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the leading causes of preventable death in the United States are:
- Tobacco use
- Poor diet and physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
- Microbial agents (e.g., infectious diseases)
- Toxic agents (e.g., air pollution)
- Adverse reactions to prescription drugs
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Incidents involving firearms
- Sexual behaviors
- Illicit drug use
The substances responsible for mortality rates, such as alcohol, tobacco, opioids, cocaine, and benzodiazepines, are included in the top ten.
What are some mortality risks attributed to common substances?
Mortality risks attributed to substance use vary depending on the substance and the population being studied. Here are some examples of mortality rates for some common substances:
- Alcohol: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol is the third leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide, accounting for about 3.3 million deaths per year.
- Tobacco: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for about 480,000 deaths per year.
- Opioids: According to the CDC, opioid overdose deaths have been increasing in recent years, with an estimated 47,600 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2019.
- Cocaine: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there were an estimated 14,406 deaths related to cocaine in the United States in 2019.
- Methamphetamine: According to the NIDA, there were an estimated 7,094 deaths related to methamphetamine in the United States in 2019.
- Benzodiazepines: According to the NIDA, there were an estimated 11,537 deaths related to benzodiazepines in the United States in 2019.
It's important to note that these numbers are estimates and can vary depending on the source and population being studied. Additionally, many of these deaths are the result of polysubstance use, meaning that individuals may have used multiple substances at the same time which can have a synergistic effect leading to higher mortality rates.
The substances above are among the leading causes of preventable death in the United States, but they are not necessarily the top 6. The ranking can vary depending on the source and the population being studied, but generally speaking, these substances are among the most commonly used and have the highest rates of morbidity and mortality.
Morbidity and Mortality Risk:
Morbidity and mortality are two different measures of health that are often used in public health and medical research.
Morbidity refers to the incidence and prevalence of illness, disease, or injury in a population. It is a measure of the burden of illness and disability in a population and includes both chronic and acute conditions. Morbidity can be measured in various ways, such as by the number of new cases of a disease in a given period, the number of people living with a particular condition, or the number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost due to a particular condition.
Mortality, on the other hand, refers to the number of deaths in a population. It is a measure of the number of people who die from a particular cause or during a particular time period. Mortality can be measured by the number of deaths from a specific cause, the crude death rate, or the age-adjusted death rate.
Both morbidity and mortality are important measures of health and are used to understand the burden of disease in a population and to guide public health policy and practice. Morbidity can indicate a potential problem, while mortality can give a more accurate measure of the real impact of the problem. Together, they provide a more comprehensive picture of the health status of a population.
Which opioids have the highest mortality rates?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as illegal drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl. Different opioids have different strengths and potential for overdose, and the risk of overdose death can vary depending on the opioid and the population being studied.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is considered to be one of the most potent opioids and has a high risk of overdose death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in opioid overdose deaths in the United States. It's 50-100 times more potent than morphine and 30-50 times more potent than heroin.
Heroin, another illegal opioid, also has a high risk of overdose death, particularly when mixed with other substances, such as fentanyl.
Prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, also have a high risk of overdose death, particularly when taken in high doses or when combined with other substances, such as benzodiazepines.
It's important to note that many opioid overdose deaths involve multiple drugs, and the risk of overdose can be increased when opioids are taken in combination with other substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.
So, what about Kratom’s mortality rate?
Kratom, also known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia. It has been traditionally used as a natural remedy for pain, anxiety, and other conditions. In recent years, kratom has become increasingly popular in the United States as an alternative to opioids for pain management and as a potential aid for opioid addiction.
There have been concerns about the safety of kratom, particularly with regards to its potential for abuse and overdose. However, the majority of reported deaths associated with kratom use have been found to involve other substances such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
Kratom's Mortality Risks and Controversies about deaths associated with Kratom
The controversy around the reported mortality rates associated with kratom use may be due in part to the limited data available on the safety and risks of kratom use. Additionally, kratom is not FDA regulated, which can make it difficult to determine the purity and potency of kratom products. Furthermore, some people may use kratom in combination with other substances, which can increase the risk of overdose and other adverse effects.
On one hand, some studies have reported that kratom use is associated with a lower risk of overdose death compared to opioids. For example, a 2019 study by Henningfield et al. found that the risk of overdose death is "1000 times greater for opioids than for kratom."
On the other hand, there have been reports of deaths associated with kratom use.
The number of deaths attributed solely to kratom use (kratom mortality risk) is a subject of controversy and debate. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that kratom has been associated with a number of deaths in recent years.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that kratom has been associated with death, and has been a subject of concern for the FDA for quite some time. According to the FDA, as of December 2019, the FDA has received reports of 44 deaths associated with the use of kratom-containing products.
However, in many of these cases, the individual's death can be attributed to other causes, underlying health conditions or the use of other substances such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol and it's difficult to attribute the death solely to kratom.
However, the American Kratom Association, an advocacy group, has stated that "there have been no scientific studies that have shown that kratom causes death" and that the deaths reported by the FDA are "anecdotal and lack scientific evidence."
While kratom does have opioid-like effects, it is not a true opioid and its primary alkaloid, mitragynine, does not have the same respiratory depression effects as morphine-like opioids. Therefore, it may have a lower risk of overdose death as compared to opioids.
How is kratom different from a true opioid?
Kratom is not an opioid, but it does have opioid-like effects, which is why it has been used as an alternative to opioids for pain management and as a potential aid for opioid addiction.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as illegal drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl. These drugs work by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which leads to a reduction in the perception of pain and an increase in feelings of pleasure.
The primary alkaloid in kratom, mitragynine, also acts on these receptors but with a different mechanism of action. Mitragynine does not have the same respiratory depression effects as morphine-like opioids and therefore, it may have a lower risk of overdose death as compared to opioids.
It's important to note that the research on kratom is still limited and more studies are needed to fully understand its effects, benefits and risks. Additionally, kratom is not FDA regulated, and there is a risk of contamination or adulteration with other substances. Therefore, it's important to use caution when using kratom and to only use it under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
The article "Risk of death associated with kratom use compared to opioids" by Henningfield et al. examines the risk of death associated with the use of kratom in comparison to opioids. The authors note that there has been an increase in kratom use in the United States, and that there have been deaths in which kratom use was detected. However, most of these deaths have been attributed to other causes such as fentanyl, heroin, benzodiazepines, prescription opioids, and cocaine.
Mortality risk is exceptionally low for kratom mortality risk as compared to other opioid mortality risks.
The authors compare the mortality risk (risk of death) associated with kratom to that of "narcotic-like opioids" such as morphine. They summarize animal toxicology data, surveys, and mortality data associated with opioids and kratom to provide a basis for estimating the relative mortality risk of kratom vs opioids. They estimate that the risk of overdose death is "1000 times greater for opioids than for kratom."
What is the mortality rate for morphine?
If you were curious, like we were, what the morphine mortality risk is like, here it is:
The mortality rate for morphine specifically can vary depending on the population being studied and the specific circumstances of use. However, it's considered to be a potent opioid and has a relatively high risk of overdose death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioids such as morphine, were involved in almost 68% of opioid overdose deaths in 2019.
The risk of overdose death is generally considered to be higher with opioids that are more potent, such as fentanyl and heroin, but morphine can still be dangerous, especially when taken in high doses or in combination with other substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.
In addition, chronic use of morphine can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction, which can also increase the risk of overdose death. It's important to remember that all opioids should be used with caution, under medical supervision and only when prescribed.
Conclusion on Kratom's Mortality Risk
The authors note that their estimate of the mortality risk associated with kratom use is based on limited data, and that more research is needed to fully understand the risks associated with kratom use. They also call for regulation of commercial kratom products to ensure that consumers are informed by FDA labeling and that kratom products are not contaminated or adulterated with other substances.
In conclusion, the authors suggest that kratom may be a less dangerous alternative to opioids when it comes to the mortality risk, but caution that more research is needed to fully understand the risks associated with kratom use. While the risk of death associated with kratom use appears to be lower than that of opioids, more research is needed to fully understand the safety of kratom. It's important for individuals to be aware of the potential risks and to use caution when using kratom, particularly if taking other substances or medications or if you have any preexisting conditions.
Kratom mortality risk is a valid concern, just like anything else could be for people with other substance abuse problems OR underlying health conditions.
But the fact that kratom mortality risk is in any way being compared to opioid mortality risks is a straw man argument meant to distract people from the real crises at hand and all in an effort to control the pharmaceutical market and keep people buying more addictive opiates while keeping this plant from people who could use it responsibly.
So, kratom vendors and kratom users – know the mortality risks, be smart, and use and educate responsibly!
Does Kratom Show up on a Drug Test? https://legendskratomco.com/blogs/the-kratom-life-living-legendary/does-kratom-show-up-on-a-drug-test
The Importance of Quality Kratom for Kratom Users: https://legendskratomco.com/blogs/the-kratom-life-living-legendary/the-importance-of-quality-kratom-for-kratom-users
Alternative Medicines & Herbal Remedies: https://legendskratomco.com/blogs/the-kratom-life-living-legendary/alternative-medicines-naturopathy-and-herbal-remedies
Traditional Medicine in Southeast Asia: https://legendskratomco.com/blogs/the-kratom-life-living-legendary/traditional-medicine-in-southeast-asia
Buying Kratom for Beginners: https://legendskratomco.com/blogs/the-kratom-life-living-legendary/buying-kratom-for-beginners
Living Legendary: A Kratom Story https://legendskratomco.com/blogs/the-kratom-life-living-legendary/a-kratom-story
Coe MA, Pillitteri JL, Sembower MA, Gerlach KK, Henningfield JE. Kratom as a substitute for opioids: Results from an online survey. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Sep 1;202:24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.05.005. Epub 2019 Jun 29. PMID: 31284119.