News and notes

North America’s growing demand for Kratom is driving an economic boom in Borneo. (

  • The boom is countering the effect of falling prices for rubber and palm oil.
  • Hundreds of businesses are retooling for cultivation and processing of the plant.
  • Over 60,000 people are now employed by the Kratom industry in Borneo.

New data reveals drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017.  (New York Times)

  • Overdose deaths have surpassed death totals from H.I.V., car crashes or gun violence at their peaks.
  • The increase is related to increased use of synthetic opioids known as fentanyls.
  • Since 2013, overdose deaths associated with fentanyls and similar drugs has grown from 3,000 to more than 28,000.
  • Deaths involving fentanyl increased more than 45 percent in 2017 alone

Research indicates rodents that use Kratom intravenously are putting their lives at risk. (INVERSE)

  • To establish a lethal dose, researchers injected mice with the two main active molecules in kratom. (No mice died from oral doses of the molecules, but some experienced seizures and depressed breathing.)
  • The equivalent of a fatal dosage in a human being would be between 520 grams (over half a kilo) and 1840 grams (almost two kilos) taken intravenously. 
  • Project Head Kim Janda said the studies “present an unbiased assessment of kratom and potentially give insights as why we are seeing more cases of kratom-related overdoses.”  According to Janda, the study assumes “… people are starting to IV kratom versus oral use.” In other words, people are shooting up kratom.