Native to Southeast Asia, kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant endowed with psychoactive effects, and endowed with anti-anxiety properties. In fact, she is sometimes used as a substitute for opiates, especially in the United States following the opioid crisis which resulted in numerous deaths from overdoses.
As the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) specifies in a new information point, the kratom contains mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which are alkaloids active on morphine receptors. Therefore, it acts in a similar way to several opiates and can induce the same effects.
Worried to see this plant consumed in France and easily available via the internet, the ANSM entrusted an investigation to the national addictovigilance network for the period 2017-2018. This resulted in the reporting of twenty cases of kratom consumption in France, “with an increase in the number of intoxications in recent years (14 cases since 2016), causing addiction, withdrawal syndrome, anorexia, weight loss, psychotic decompensation and a toxic hepatitis”, Deplores the ANSM. The Agency specifies that a death has also been reported, in a context of drug use associated with medication.
The ANSM therefore saw fit to include kratom and its compounds on the list of psychotropic substances, in the same way as opiates, anxiolytics, sleeping pills or even antipsychotics. As a result, the ownership and purchase of kratom and / or its derivatives is now prohibited in France. A decision taken in a decree published on December 23, 2019.
For the ANSM, the goal is to avoid arriving at the situation in the United States, where kratom is legal in 43 states and where nearly 100 deaths have been recorded by the health authorities due to the consumption of this plant between July 2006 and December 2017.