RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – VivaZen is a liquid shot marketed as a natural pain reliever. But its main ingredient, called kratom, can have the same effects as pain killers.

WRIC found bottles sold for $10 each at a local head shop.”If you have a physical trauma, it’s going to reduce the pain. If you have a psychological trauma it’s going to reduce the anxiety,” said Richard Grosse, a licensed clinical social worker at Dominion Behavioral Health in Chesterfield.

Katrom is a plant from Southeast Asia, not regulated by the us government. Users have said to get the same high as taking an opiates.

“A lot of folks who are coming off opiates are using kratom to bridge the gap and help deal with the withdrawal symptoms of opiates,” said Grosse.

Grosse is an adolescent substance abuse counselor…and worries teens addicted to pain killers, could turn to katrom instead, a cheaper and legal alternative.

He says there is not research on katrom to know how dangerous it really is.

“That really concerns me, is are we going to have, you know, discover down the road that it is more addicting, that it can cause adversary effects, is it going to lead to difficulties later on?”

Vivazen’s media team released this statement to WRIC:

“Ensuring the safety of our products for our consumers is VivaZen’s top priority. We employ a number of scientists and toxicologists that see to that every day.

Kratom is a natural botanical, related to the coffee family, which is native to Southeast Asia. It has been used there for hundreds of years-providing energy and minor pain relief. Taking natural Kratom, particularly VivaZen, is a natural alternative for millions of consumers.

VivaZen is clearly labeled with Mitragyna speciosa leaf extract, that’s the scientific name for Kratom, as an active ingredient. VivaZen’s label also contains the following information and recommendations:

“Not intended for those under 18. Do not consume on an empty stomach. Do not consume if pregnant or breastfeeding, or if operating a motor vehicle, machinery, or if you have liver disorder, heart disease, high blood pressure, CNS disorder, or other medical condition, or are taking medication. Use responsibly. Never mix with alcohol or medication. Excessive use may cause nausea.”

VivaZen is non-habit forming, when taken as directed. Kratom consumers may experience dependence, similarly to caffeine, if continuously consumed over long periods of time at high intake levels. That is why Vivazen’s label also includes:

“Directions: Shake thoroughly to mix. The herbal extracts can be bitter, so take all in one shot or mix into iced tea, juice or soda. Consume entire bottle within 20 minutes for best results. Do not take on an empty stomach. First time users try half and wait 20 minutes.”