Kratom as Residents’ Livelihood, a Danger to Users
Kratom leaf (Mitragyna speciose) or Bali Kratom leaf is a traditional medicinal plant native to Southeast Asia that has antinociceptive efficacy, which is to relieve pain. Kratom prices have plummeted since the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) set a ban starting in 2022.
Kalimantan and Papua New Guinea people traditionally consume kratom, by chewing it raw or brewed like tea.
Many tropical plants that grow in West Kalimantan have been used for pain relief and stimulants. About 90 percent of kratom consumed in the US originates from Indonesia, is cultivated in West Kalimantan (Putussibau, Kapuas Hulu) and Aceh. The export route is through two lines, post office, and cargo.
According to the Head of the Pontianak Post Office Zainal Hamid, the volume of kratom that is sent is an average of 30 tons a month, or 400 tons a year with a value of 130 million USD, sent in powder form as well as with Red Bali kratom
With shipping costs of Rp.5.5 million per koli 80% of Pontianak Post office income comes from kratom shipments. Pontianak Post Office only serves the delivery of kratom ordered or the buy kratom sent by the Kratom Leaf Businessmen Association. While shipping via cargo was not detected.
The price of kratom exports to the US reached Rp. 5 billion per ton or Rp. 5 million kilograms. The price of kratom at the Putusibau farmer’s level initially reached Rp32,000 per kilogram, now it has dropped to Rp7,000 per kilogram after the BNN classifies it as narcotics.
Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia, revealed of 404 patients with liver disease, 8 of which were most likely caused by kratom. In 2017, the FDA recorded 44 kratom-related deaths.
Kratom is rarely the only cause of death. Fatal kratom abuse is generally accompanied by the use of other substances such as heroin, benzodiazepines, and cocaine. Through post-mortem toxicology tests, from 27,338 overdose deaths, only seven deaths tested positive for kratom as a single substance.
Kratom leaves are efficacious to relieve pain. Kratom is widely grown in West Kalimantan, exported to the United States. Beyond its benefits, abuse of kratom can be addictive and life-threatening. If prohibited, many local people lose their livelihoods