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2 Investigators: Dangerous New Drug Kratom Being Sold Legally In Illinois

  1. Phenoxide
    (CBS) — The DEA says there’s a new and dangerous drug popping up all over the country and parents need to be on the look-out for it. The CBS 2 Investigators found while it’s banned in some states it’s being legally sold all over the Chicago area.

    Wesley Todd manufactures a controversial pill called Kratom, and is based in Florida, with a distribution and processing center in California.

    He and other Kratom sellers — use plant leaves grown in Indonesia and Thailand. Kratom is banned in Thailand and law enforcement officials say Kratom acts similar to an opiate. There is a buzz all over the internet and numerous testimonials from people on Youtube who compare it to Oxycontin or a sedative.

    Todd — who runs a company — said it’s all-natural, safe, and helped him deal with the lasting effects from injuries suffered in motorcycle crash.

    CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini reports, while some call it an alternative herb, others call it a potentially deadly addictive sedative — including Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge for the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

    “This is as dangerous as it comes. It can cause heart rate going up sweating going up blood pressure going up and if you have other medical conditions it could actually be life threatening,” Riley said.

    Riley says in small doses it’s considered a stimulant, and in larger doses a sedative.

    CBS 2 went undercover to show how Chicago area smoke shops are peddling Kratom frequently. One store clerk told Savini he is selling it day and night, and another clerk agreed it delivers a Vicodin-like high.

    Toxicologist Edward Boyer from Massachusetts warned it’s addictive, and can cause liver damage. He said children especially need to stay far away from it.

    Kratom is a substance that binds to the same receptors the Vicodin, Oxycontin, morphine, heroin all bind too,” said Boyer.

    Todd, 35, who once lived in the Chicago area, says his company is the third largest in the market.

    He claims it’s perfectly safe, and not at all addictive. When asked if children are at risk taking it he responded, “I don’t believe so.”

    “Traditionally it has been used to help for pain for people all over the world for centuries it’s been used for anxiety.”

    Yet he and other Kratom sellers face scrutiny now that three states have some form of ban on the product. Illinois has no ban on it, but the DEA has it on their watch list as a suspicious drug.

    Just how big has Kratom gotten? So big that Todd’s competitor in Chicago, Lincoln Park resident Michael Pilney, allegedly offered undercover DEA agents seven pounds of cocaine to kill Todd.

    Todd wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the murder-for-hire plot, but Pilney was charged in DuPage County and is currently free after posting an $800,000 bond.

    Pilney distributes Kratom, and police sources said they found illegal drugs like cocaine and ecstasy in a home he was using to store drugs in suburban Lincolnwood this past June.

    Pilney allegedly wanted to maintain his share of the Kratom market, and was upset with Todd because Todd once worked for Pilney. Pilney currently faces solicitation of murder charges.

    “There are bad people in every industry,” Todd said.

    Todd says he’s now selling his Kratom in 47 states and two other countries.

    While the Kratom craze continues, so do the warnings.

    “I would tell all parents be very careful if your children say they are interested in using this thing,” said Dr. Boyer.

    Todd says he refuses to distribute his Kratom to gas stations and convenience stores, and sells only to smoke shops that have age restrictions.

    He says he has tens of thousands of customers. Indiana is reportedly one of the states that has banned Kratom and there is no word on any attempt to do the same thing here in Illinois. The DEA says its investigation into Kratom is ongoing.

    CBS Chicago
    19th November 2013


  1. Phenoxide
    New Drug That’s As Addictive As Heroin And Perfectly Legal

    New Drug That’s As Addictive As Heroin And Perfectly Legal

    MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A drug known as kratom produces a high like cocaine, can be as addictive as heroin, and–believe it or not–is completely legal.

    It’s an herbal remedy found in Kava bars and head shops in South Florida and throughout the country, but now authorities say kratom, which comes from a tree in southeast Asia, may not be completely safe.

    “This will get you where you need to be and make you feel good,” said one proponent. “It can give you a happy, euphoric feeling,” said another. “I feel like I have a little buzz,” said a third.

    “It’s a branch of the coffee family and years and years ago, the villagers would manipulate the leaves and it gave off an effect that relaxed people,” said clinical care coordinator John Corbett, a drug and alcohol counselor.

    Kratom, sought after for its euphoric and more intense effects, is considered by some as one of the most dangerous drugs currently for sale in the United States.

    “Doctors are Googling, they’re actually Googling what is this, where is this coming from,” said Corbett. “People are ending up in emergency rooms, hospitals, rehab.”

    Kratom is ground into powder, stuffed in capsules and even sold in liquid form. It is so highly addictive Corbett likens it to opium and heroin.

    “It was a warm, euphoric feeling, “ said 23-year-old former kratom user Carrie, “I didn’t feel irritable, I wasn’t concerned with day to day anxieties.”

    But soon, Carrie said, her casual kratom use turned to full-blown addiction. She was taking kratom three times a day, spending $1,000 a month on it.

    “I was scrounging for change, for food ,” Carrie said, “ Some days I would go without eating because I would rather have money for the drug.”

    A recovering prescription drug addict, Carrie said she went through rehab a second time, for kratom, with the process proving to be equally grueling.

    According to Peter Gannon, a psychiatric nurse practitioner who helped treat Carrie, detoxing from kratom is in fact similar to kicking heroin.

    “You’ll go through an opiate type of withdrawal, where you’ll have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and sweats,” Gannon said, “You’ll just feel like you want to die.”

    Kratom is popping up for sale everywhere, from smoke shops and convenient stores to the Internet.

    So why is it legal in the U.S. when Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand have all banned its use? The Drug Enforcement Agency recently placed kratom on its list of “Drugs and Chemicals of Concern,” a watch list of substances that government chemists are studying.

    Since kratom is still legal, that means growers like Wesley Todd are free to sell kratom without repercussions.

    Todd said he started producing and selling the herb after a debilitating motorcycle accident. Severe pain led Todd to doctor after doctor, and he was soon addicted to prescription medication. Taking Kratom, Todd said, allowed him to break that habit, and resume a normal life, adding that the herb is safe to use, and not addictive.

    “No one has ever overdosed on it, “ Todd said, “There is just no way, it’s not possible. The claims they are making are not possible.”

    Still, those who offer treatment for Kratom addiction say it can be dangerous, and they advise people who want to try it to think twice before they do.

    A state lawmaker in Massachusetts has filed a bill to outlaw kratom.

    “You could get into an automobile high on kratom, drive down the road and crash and kill someone,” said Vinny deMacedo.

    Although there have been no reported fatalities from kratom, the known risks and dangers of overdoses include delusions, tremors, coordination problems, and hallucinations.

    CBS Miami
    21st November 2013

  2. ianzombie
    They sure get in a lot of buzz words. Peddlers, murder, heroin.
    All they are short of adding is that its been used by paedophiles and terrorists.
    Maybe they will read this and add it in the next report.
  3. RelaxForMe
    How ridiculous , Kratom is not like Cocaine Or heroin and these journalist shouldn't be ashamed. It reminds me of like a long lasting nicotine. Kind of like a nicotine patch.

    Nicotine is both a stimulant and has effects that resemble an opiate when used in high doses.

    A little nicotine makes one stimulated. More makes one relaxed. Sounds similar right?

    But i know from personal experience that quiting nicotine is 100x harder than quitting kratom.

    http://www.news-medical.net/health/Nicotine-Effects.aspx Good article on nicotine.

    So would anyone go to compare nicotine to " a high like heroin and cocaine " No!. but for some reason an underground plant gets targeted.

    It's especially ridiculous how obvious it is that the writer of the article has never Tried kratom Because He would have never said something so ridiculous.

    And also I Very much DOUBT that he sees any reason to target this plant.

    Like you can see Heroin , cocaine, Pcp addicts outside on the street and say Wow, What a bad drug due to how it makes them act.

    But kratom users you would be hard pressed to see any difference in their appearance or acting.

    Why attack an innocent plant with No merit to do so? I just don't understand. Hysteria at it's finest.
  4. idfma
    Somebody needs to tell that dumbfuck in MA that there are a lot more people getting in their cars drunk after a Patriots game and killing people than anyone taking kratom. It shouldn't be too hard to add that to the bill he's written.

    In a country where we're supposed to be free to pursue our happiness as long as it doesn't impinge upon others' we sure like to squash somebody else's good time with hysterical, overreactive, misinformed laws, and news stories that precipitate those laws.

    All I know is that the Kratom Association better start pouring money into political campaigns, not cocaine to bribe DEA agents to kill their competitors. Kratom will be fine if the vendors put together a strong lobby. That's how shit works here--you buy your legality. Just ask Coors and Phillip Morris.
  5. cjb85
    I had to laugh out loud after all the heroin, withdrawal, ER visits, rehab, etc. talk they end the one article with "Although there have been no reported fatalities from kratom...". Any opiate user who has tried kratom knows it is mild at best. Dipshits who expect something more from it are getting sick from massive doses and giving it a bad name. I can definitely see the federal government cracking down on it soon. It sucks but it's likely going to happen.
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