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This study sought to determine the relationship between kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) initiation and regular consumption of illicit drugs and HIV risk behaviors in a cohort of illicit drug users in Malaysia. 260 illicit drug users with current kratom use were recruited through convenience sampling for this cross-sectional study. All were male, with the majority being Malays (95%, n = 246/260). Results suggest that kratom initiation was associated with significant decrease in the regular use of heroin (odds ratio (OR) = 0.50, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.40- 0.72; p = .0001), methamphetamine (OR = 0.23, CI: 0.16- 0.35; p < .0001), and amphetamine (OR = 0.17, CI: 0.09- 0.34; p < .0001). Kratom initiation was also associated with reduction in regular HIV risk behaviors such as having sex with sex workers (OR = 0.20, CI: 0.12-0.32; p < .0001), using drugs before sexual intercourse (OR = 0.20, CI: 0.13- 0.31; p < .0001), injecting behaviors (OR = 0.10, CI: 0.04- 0.25; p < .0001), sharing of injection equipment (OR = 0.13, CI: 0.04- 0.43; p < .0001), and injecting with other injection drug users (IDUs) (OR = 0.07, CI: 0.02- 0.24; p < .0001).


Azlin Saref, Sharifah Suraya, Darshan Singh, Oliver Grundmann, Suresh Narayanan, Marc T Swogger, Walter C Prozialeck, Edward Boyer, Vicknasingam Balasingam. Self-Report Data on Regular Consumption of Illicit Drugs and HIV Risk Behaviors after Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa korth.) Initiation among Illicit Drug Users in Malaysia. Journal of psychoactive drugs. 2020 Apr-Jun;52(2):138-144

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PMID: 31682782

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