The Ministry of Health will not propose for ketum to be used as painkiller or for drug addiction treatment.

Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said this was because ketum had a similar effect as morphine.

“Ketum and morphine are similar, with the same effect. Sure, its effect is energetic, analgesic, can be used for insomnia… it has many uses,” he told reporters after launching the ‘Back To School Programme’ at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pondok Upeh Balik Pulau here today.

But he said ketum abuse which was becoming rampant among the youth could damage the body’s system.

He was asked to comment on the results of a research conducted on ketum by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

On Thursday, Prof Dr Sharif Mahsufi Mansor of USM School of Pharmaceutical Sciences disclosed that the university found ketum to have potential to be a new medicine for pain relief and in drug addiction treatment

He was reportedly to have said ketum could potentially replace methadone particularly in followup treatment after drug addiction recovery.

However, he acknowledged that there had not been any clinical studies to substantiate the university’s claim but that research was ongoing to that end.

Meanwhile, Dr Hilmi said the government planned to include ketum in the Poison Act 1951 with a view to ban its cultivation on a commercial basis next year.

He said the draft was already in the final stage and might likely be presented at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting. — Bernama

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