Today AmeritoxSM, a national leader in medication monitoring solutions, announced it is offering tests for two dangerous street drugs, flakka and kratom. The additions are in response to reports from clinicians and state and federal law enforcement about the potential for abuse of these two substances among those who misuse or abuse prescription drugs.
“We determine the need for a new test by regularly speaking with the physicians we serve – finding out what they’re hearing and seeing in their communities,” said Ameritox Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tom Smith. “We also monitor DEA notices and law enforcement alerts about dangerous new drugs. We added flakka and kratom to our testing options because they’re a growing concern for the patients our clinicians care for.”
Flakka, made from a chemical compound called alpha-PVP, is a cousin of the amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts. It is classified as an “upper,” and can induce hallucinations and even death. Kratom is derived from a tree found in parts of Southeast Asia. Its primary chemical compounds, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, have been shown to reduce pain by activating opioid receptors in the brain.1
“Candidly, flakka and kratom are still relatively new street drugs, the effects of which aren’t completely understood,” Smith said. “The benefit of knowing whether patients are using these drugs will help protect them from potential tragedy.”
When alerted that ‘new’ drugs are being abused, Ameritox obtains a “reference standard,” or a laboratory-made, pure sample of the drug, to use as a baseline for measurement in patients participating in urine drug monitoring. From there, the Ameritox laboratory equipment is calibrated to be able to test for the new drug.
“Research and development at Ameritox is deeply important,” said CEO Scott Walton, “because what we learn helps to keep doctors informed, and potentially save the lives of the patients we serve.”