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Florida Authorities Target Kratom; DEA Claims "No Legitimate Medical Use"

  1. 5-HT2A
    After the recent crackdown on prescription and synthetic drugs across the state, authorities are now focusing on controlling an herb currently legal in Florida and believed to elicit the same effects as some narcotics.

    Made from the leaves of trees that grow in southeast Asia, kratom is on the radar of many agencies: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began detaining imported kratom last year, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services ordered grocery and convenience stores to stop selling the products. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also added it to its list of drugs of concern.

    In Florida, Sarasota is the only county that has outlawed the herb.

    The rest of the state might be next: State Rep. Kristin Jacobs of Coconut Creek filed a bill in January that would make the supplement a controlled substance.

    "This is Florida's next crisis," Jacobs said. "We must at some point figure out how to become proactive rather than reactive to these kinds of efforts."

    But many kratom users credit the herb for curbing their addictions to pain medication.

    "I am concerned," said Tammy Hartman of North Fort Myers. "I don't want to go back to the situation and the mental place that I was at."

    In Tampa Bay, kratom is being sold in smoke shops, including in Dunedin, Safety Harbor and St. Pete Beach, said Pinellas sheriff's Capt. Mark Baughman, who oversees the narcotics division.

    "I'm hoping something will be done," Baughman said. "I think that because it's still relatively new on the market that we haven't seen all the side effects."

    Kratom, also available online, comes in pills, crushed leaves and powder that can be added to drinks. One bottle of capsules containing two doses costs about $20.

    Kratom has been used in southeast Asia for decades, according to the DEA. At low doses, it functions as a stimulant that triggers alertness and energy. At high doses, kratom can cause sedative effects similar to opiates.

    Side effects might include nausea, itching and loss of appetite, the DEA reports, although some cases of psychosis have been documented, including hallucinations and confusion.

    Some research suggests kratom can have dangerous interactions if taken with prescription drugs. Jacobs said investigators recently told her about a Santa Rosa County man found dead after taking kratom.

    According to the DEA, the supplement has no "legitimate medical use."

    Chris Giblin, owner of smoke shops in Holiday and Clearwater, said most of his kratom customers use it to alleviate pain. Since Giblin began selling it more than two years ago, kratom has become one of the most popular products at his stores.

    James Morrissette, a Cape Coral distributor, said many kratom users use it to treat fibromyalgia, anxiety and insomnia.

    "It's growing," Morrissette said of kratom's popularity. "There's a tremendous amount of interest and it's solving problems with many people's lives."

    Morrissette created the Facebook group, "The American Kratom Society," which has more than 1,400 members. Hartman is among them. She took prescription drugs for 10 years to cope with back pain related to a motorcycle crash.

    "I had become addicted to it," she said. "I had taken them for so long they weren't working well."

    A few years ago, she started taking kratom daily. Her pain is gone and she doesn't feel the grogginess triggered by pills, she said. If kratom is banned in Florida, Hartman, 42, said she will consider moving to another state.

    "If this does pass," she said, "it can change my life all over again."

    by Laura C. Morel

    March 5, 2015



  1. rawbeer
    I didn't know Arizona has a 21 restriction. I actually think that's exactly what needs to be done, more states need to adopt sensible restrictions instead of outright bans.

    And yeah, as always, fuck Florida. The turd that won't brake off.
  2. Openmymind
    They're just wasting their own time. It's not something people are dying off of . It's definitely not a common reaction to " hallucinate " or become " delusional" from the use of it. I don't know why so many articles feel the need to make up things to make kratom look more menacing . Not one time out of the 1000s times i've taken kratom has it caused hallucinations. yet i've seen many articles compare it to LSD .

    When are they going to realize that this is not A brand new bath salt / designer drug And when will they realize that this isn't a " new " drug either . It has been around for a veeeery long time and it has had more than enough time to have it's safety profile investigated.

    And it's so fascinating how they find one vender selling capsules for 20$ , While evaluating it's dosage potential to just 2 dosages. That is one vender, And it is certainly not the standard for how much kratom costs. I would be able to get around a 100 doses from my vender at that price .

    It just goes to show how ignorant the people who write these articles are. I think kratom should be made 21 + , Like that sounds very logical as a whole . Much better than this " Hush hush " attitude about it that many seem to have to try to sweep it under the rug and keep it out of the public eye.

    But in no way is kratom a replacement recreational drug for opiates Or LSD.It's not even a little bit comparable to the high that heroin produces. It's like a mac truck vs a bicycle in a head on collision.

    Not one person i have showed kratom who was into Heroin switched from heroin to kratom. and in fact Only one of the people i showed Kratom even liked it at all. And that was only when they were clean and sober for 6 months and they took the most expensive extract you can buy.

    Yellow journalism at it's finest. The writers should be ashamed of themselves. And i want to move to florida as well. But the state is looking more and more unappealing .

    They're also trying to get a law to vote transgender folks out of the bathrooms of the new gender they have assigned themselves. Which is just ignorant , but that is a rant for another day.

    Maybe California would be better to go to .
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