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Int J Drug Policy. 2013 Jul;24(4):351-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2012.09.004. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Pattern and consequences of krathom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) use among male villagers in southern Thailand: a qualitative study.

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Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90112, Thailand.



Krathom is currently the most popular illicit substance in use in southern Thailand. Research regarding its effects and health impacts is scarce. This study explored the pattern of krathom use and users' perceptions of the consequences of its use.


An in-depth qualitative interview. A group of 34 self-identified regular users, occasional users, non-users and ex-users of krathom was used in this study. Health volunteer as a key-contact person helped the researcher to invite villagers to participate in the study using snowballing technique. The process of data analysis was guided by Strauss and Corbin's grounded theory.


The core category, 'Understanding krathom use', was generated from three inter-related categories: (i) reasons for continuing krathom use, (ii) the way of applying krathom, and (iii) perceiving positive and realizing the negative effects of krathom use and their 18 subcategories.


The study findings reveal the importance of considering krathom use from the perspective and belief of the villagers. Krathom is addictive with its own characteristic symptoms and signs. The results provide support for policy interventions to control the availability of krathom according to the community context. In addition, krathom misuse by adolescents must be considered.


Krathom; Mitragyna speciosa Korth.; Qualitative study

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