The Standard Journal
Scrutiny of kratom herbal supplement continues
The Floyd County Police Department has posted a notice of concern about the use of an herbal relaxation supplement that can be found at many health food and convenience stores.
Sgt. Chris Fincher said the biggest concern is that kratom, a legal substance, is being used by many people as an alternative to opioid painkillers.
“The Drug Enforcement Agency is calling it a drug of concern,” Fincher said.
Kratom comes from a tree typically found in Southeast Asia. The leaves from the tree are usually crushed and brewed like a tea or produced in capsule, tablet and liquid form.
In August 2016 the agency announced plans to ban the substance.
“There was so much outrage that they backed off of that,” Fincher said.
Larry Lassiter, owner of the Herb Shop On Broad, said he examined kratom closely before responding to a request from numerous customers to stock it.
“This is a substance that has been around for centuries. We have veterans who use it for stress. You don’t think of it as a gutter product,” he said.
Ashley Thrash o f Lindale is being treated for brain cancer and experiences frequent headaches and pain. She said has been using kratom for about a year and a half.
“It helps me with pain and energy. Now I rarely take my pain medications,” Thrash said. “I have come off my antidepressants and I feel better as a whole.”
Fincher said he is well aware that many people are using it to overcome opioid addictions.
“We just want to warn parents that if it is consumed in large doses that it can be addictive, too,” Fincher said.
The county police website specifically encourages parents to watch for young children with small shot bottles of the herbal substance.
Here in Polk County, Kratom doesn’t have any specific stores or major sales according to officials from the Polk County Drug Task Force, but they are keeping an eye out for it.
The DEA accepted comments on the substance through December and is now reviewing them.