Longreads

At BuzzFeed, Azeen Ghorayshi reports on kratom, a plant-based substance that has helped some opioid abusers to overcome addiction. When users ingest kratom, it latches on to the same brain receptors as heroine and fentanyl, blocking the crippling withdrawal symptoms that prevent many users from breaking their habit. The problem is, because it does latch on to those same receptors, the US government’s not sure if they should classify it as an opioid and restrict it as a Schedule I controlled substance, even though it comes without a high.

By the time Courtney True found the Reddit thread about kratom in December 2016, she hadn’t touched an opioid for 48 hours. She was in bad shape — stomach cramps, diarrhea, jitters, hot sweats, cold sweats, and body aches that made even her teeth hurt. Sitting at her kitchen table hunched over a laptop, she recalled, “I felt like I…

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