PETALING JAYA, Aug 12 ― Ever since the intake of Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia early last year, many misconceptions regarding alternate therapies for the virus have circulated among the community.
The misinformation of ketum as an alternative medication for Covid-19 battlers is one of them.
In general, ketum is a plant-based drug with therapeutic effects and it has also been used in the treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness.
One of the most well-known advantages of ketum is its ability to alleviate pain that substitutes medications such as Vicodin and Oxycodone.
However, the Health Ministry (MoH) said there is no scientific proof to support the practice of ketum to heal Covid-19 and it has high chances of leading to addiction upon consumption as it contains stimulants, sedative and euphoric.
MoH also posted about Covid-19 related rumours on its official Twitter account as an effort to educate the citizens to be cautious when receiving information and before attempting anything that claims to be a cure or a protection.
Not only in Malaysia, but Covid-19 misinformation has become a trend in other nations as well.
In South Africa, 59 individuals died and four were in critical position after drinking Dettol to prevent Covid-19
Similarly in India, a group of 200 people drank cow’s urine to combat the Coronavirus.
Now, ketum has been added to the list to give false hopes to the people during the Covid-19 recovery battle.
Sinar Harian reported today that Kedah police chief, Datuk Kamarulzaman Mamat said that police arrested several individuals and seized ketums leaves.
They were exporting ketum leaves to neighbouring countries and were taking advantage of the misinformation.
“There are syndicates who try to transport ketum to neighbouring countries since the market price there is greater, aside from the continual demand,” he said.
Kamarul added that the rise in seizures was due to the police's determination to put a stop to such actions
Based on statistics, Kedah police reported 276 ketum-related incidents including 348 arrests from January to July 2021.
He added that selling ketum leaves was a violation under the Poisons Act of 1952 that encompasses the offences of importing, having, producing, storing, shipping, and consuming ketum water.