Exploratory Mapping of Kratom Use Patterns and Markets in NYC
Funded by: Center for Drug Use and HIV Research
Project dates: March 2020 - September 2022
Principal Investigator: Elliott, Luther

Kratom (mitragyna speciosa) has become an increasingly controversial substance within the contexts of the U.S. opioid crisis. While popularly claimed to be an effective analgesic and alternative to methadone and buprenorphine, it has been linked to a growing number of documented cases of dependence, morbidity, and mortality. Kratom may also serve to interrupt the continuum of care for HIV and HCV by serving as a barrier to individuals with OUD accessing traditional healthcare and evidence-based treatments.

This study addressed the importance of understanding the social and motivational contexts for the use of kratom, as well as the social geography of its legal market within New York City.

The study aims were to:

Aim 1: Conduct cultural and market mapping of kratom-carrying outlets across the city.

Aim 2: Conduct a survey-based assessment of the kratom consumer base in NYC.

Aim 3: Conduct a qualitative substudy to better understand pathways to harm (including avoidance to OAT and escalation to injection opioid use) among people who use kratom.