If you are wanting to detox off of kratom or poppies but are nervous about going through withdrawal, we can help! Read on to learn how the Coleman Institute helped Brandy and Kevin with their poppy and kratom withdrawal.

What Are Kratom and Poppy Used For?

Kratom, a tropical evergreen plant from Southeast Asia, and the residue in unwashed poppy seeds contain opioid compounds with strong binding affinity, like scheduled pain medications. Both substances, if taken in high enough amounts for a long enough time will create physical dependency. Both can cause a person to experience withdrawal if the substance is not available.

More like this: Changing Behavior To Stop Opioid Use

Brandy’s Poppy Addiction

Brandy was a bit embarrassed when we did our screening call after she completed her Accelerated Opioid Detox form.

She took a deep breath and blurted out her story.

Poppy Tea Addiction

“About five years ago I was talking to my hairdresser, who knows everything that goes on in my life. I was so stressed out because of problems with my boyfriend, things were not going well at work, and I was having issues with some lower back pain. She mentioned that the thing that helped her get through the day was sipping on poppy seed tea.”

Brandy had never heard about poppy seed tea, as most people haven’t, and was intrigued. Her well-meaning hairdresser provided all the details necessary for Brandy to become her own connoisseur of a not very tasty, but successfully pain-reducing, euphoria-producing beverage.

Brandy went on.

“I started buying poppy pods online, and I have to admit, at first, it was magical. My stress levels became almost non-existent as my back pain became a thing of the past. I only drank a cup from time to time, but almost without me noticing, I began to drink more and more. I justified it by telling myself ‘It’s a natural substance.’ It's not illegal, so it can’t be dangerous.’ But during Covid, there were some shipping issues, and I couldn’t get my poppy pods.”

More like this: Cravings and Forming Habits

Poppy Seed Tea Withdrawal

Brandy actually thought she had Covid at that point. She developed extreme body aches, stomach cramps, chills, and sweats. She also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

But her Covid test was negative.

She did a little online research and discovered in a panic that she was experiencing symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

More like this: The Single Most Terrifying Thing About Admitting You Are Addicted To Opioids

Kevin’s Kratom Addiction

Kevin is a manager at a large supermarket. He is detail-oriented, reliable, smart, and kind. All these qualities helped him to rise quickly in his profession. Because he was kind Kevin is well-liked and well respected by co-workers and customers.

Kevin called the Coleman Institute to inquire about detoxing off kratom, he shared with me his story of how he became addicted.

“I was burning the wick at both ends, working long shifts at work, and taking online classes toward a business degree. I was exhausted. But, couldn’t afford to slow down.”

“I also have a young child and my wife is a stay-at-home mom. Daycare is too expensive to justify her going back to work just now.”

“One day a co-worker offered me a few capsules, filled with finely chopped green herbs. He told me it was ‘natural’, legal, and it helped his energy levels. Being a self-described ‘health-nut’, that sounded like a viable option for me.”

More like this: Is Kratom Addictive?

Kratom Addiction Potential

Kevin found that this green gift did indeed help his energy! So he increased his intake of kratom. He found a nearby tobacco and vape store and online resources as his daily habit became less of a choice. His kratom use became more of an effort to stave off his physical dependence on kratom.

Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms

On the days that he attempted to not take kratom, he experienced similar symptoms to that of Brandy: muscular aches and pains, gastrointestinal issues, restless legs, chills, and sweats.


UNDERSTANDING ACCELERATED OPIOID DETOX


Treating Kratom & Poppy Withdrawal

My first experience treating a patient with a poppy seed tea addiction was about eight years ago. She was a kindergarten teacher who sipped two pots slowly throughout her day. Since then, we have detoxed several people off of poppy seed tea and an ever-growing number of kratom.

Both kratom and poppy seeds are “legal” and “natural”. But then again, so is poison ivy, but you wouldn’t want to ingest that either.

Although most of the patients we treat at the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine come to us for help getting off pain medication such as Oxycontin®, hydromorphone, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Roxicet®, morphine, tramadol, or street drugs such as fentanyl and heroin.

Accelerated Opioid Detox

The process for getting off both poppy seed tea and kratom is similar.

Over the years I have talked to patients who have used kratom to help detox off of heroin or fentanyl. The patients who I treat are those who were not successful using kratom this way or perhaps were able to stop using the stronger opioid, only to find they had become unable to stop using kratom.

Suggested Read: Accelerated Opioid Detox: Explained Using the Coleman Method

How to Detox off of Kratom and Poppies

The Coleman Institute will schedule a five-day outpatient treatment for each of these detoxes. Patients are required to have a support person committed to staying with them 24/7 for the duration of the detox. The support person plays an integral role, administering the scheduled medication and providing transportation and support.

Naltrexone

Each day of the detox the patient will receive a micro-dose of naltrexone. This will begin the process of clearing the receptors of the addictive substance and replacing them with the pure blocking agent, naltrexone. Although the micro-dose is small, nonetheless, the naltrexone actively displaces the opioid compounds of the kratom and poppy seeds, so it does create some precipitated poppy and kratom withdrawal.

The comfort meds that are part of the Coleman method go a long way to ensure the patient’s discomfort is minimal. After several days of the body passively metabolizing the remaining kratom or poppy seed opioid compounds as well as receiving micro-dose naltrexone, a process that slowly ‘bumps’ the opioids off the receptors, the patient can get an implant of long-acting naltrexone.

Naltrexone is a non-addictive opioid blocker, which reduces cravings and helps prevent relapse. At the Coleman Institute, this comes in the form of a pellet that is placed under the skin of the abdomen, dissolving over two months, creating a physical barrier on the opioid receptors, preventing other opioids to ‘land’, and eliminating the need for a daily oral pill. It also means there are no more cravings and there is no withdrawal when the implant wears off.

Suggested Read: How Long Does Naltrexone Last & How Can It Aid in My Recovery?

How Long Can You Take Naltrexone?

A frequently asked question is how long a patient should continue to use long-acting naltrexone.

This depends on many things, including what tools the patient has to deal with the situation(s) that caused him or her to use or take opioid substances to begin with. We will often suggest naltrexone therapy for a year while the patient takes advantage of the resources provided by our case managers.

This may include referrals for in-patient therapy, intensive outpatient treatment, or individual counseling. Many patients find support with recovery groups either live or virtually.

Suggested Read: Naltrexone Therapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Conclusion

When it comes to treating an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), I believe more people would choose long-acting naltrexone as their treatment option of choice. The wash-out gap between stopping kratom and poppy seed tea to get on naltrexone can be very difficult, especially if those substances have been used long enough to create physical dependence. This is a huge barrier to surmount, and this is the niche where the Coleman Institute has excelled for over 25 years.

If you have found yourself struggling with an addiction to either kratom or poppy seed tea, please give us a call, you are not alone. We are happy to provide more details about our accelerated outpatient opioid detox program. In the meantime, stay safe.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP



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