BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Kratom is already banned in Alabama and a handful of other states. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was supposed to list it as a Schedule I drug like Heroin but is now having second thoughts. The DEA wants to get more information from the public on the drug.
Kratom is an herbal drug made from leaves of a Southeast Asian tree. Across the country, advocates say the leaves in kratom can be used as an herbal drug to treat opioid addiction. Local law enforcement says people are adding substances to kratom which can make it lethal.
"It's unregulated. When people buy this stuff off the shelf, they don't know where it came from. They don't know what conditions it was made under and they don't even know what it contains. So there's no way to know what exactly you are ingesting," Lt. J.M. Davis with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said.
The DEA is taking public input for a couple of months then will decide whether to ban it nationwide. Authorities say kratom is 13 times stronger than morphine and has the same side effects as lethal drugs.
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