What to know about Kratom?

The drug policy committee met with both house and senate members on last Thursday afternoon to discuss a drug that is sold over the counter with no regulation, this drug is Kratom.

Kratom has been the result of many overdoses in people of all ages but on the other side, it has been a pain reliever for some.

This drug is in the coffee family, but it is not an opioid.  It produces a caffeine-like stimulation and many users call it their “morning pick me up,” according to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Jack Henningfield. The drug also mimics some caffeine effects and also some opioid effects.

Both groups fighting for this regulation were at the meeting giving their stance on the “drug.”

One group (A) wants there to be more regulation, making this a schedule 1 drug since it does have the same effects as a “heroin high” and can cause an overdose since there is no dosage or regulation whatsoever and can be bought from a gas station.

The other group (B), wants Kratom to become more regulated but not be a schedule 1 drug because then it would become illegal.  Group B is wanting to see more regulations like placing an age limit on who can buy and making it less available to the general public but this would still allow people who take it as a “pain reliever” or the recovering addicts who take it to ease withdrawal symptoms.

This drug is highly addictive and has the same “high” as heroin, according to Dr. Katherine Pannel.  Dr. Pannel, who is a psychiatrist in Oxford, Batesville, and Winona area said that most of her patients were 30-40-year-old women who were needing a “morning pick-me-up” and some energy, they googled and found Kratom, then soon became addicts.

Along the other side, Dr. Jack Henningfield, who has done much research on the drug, Kratom, says that this drug should be regulated, like making the minimum age to purchase it 18 or 21 and doing that it would discourage the use by young people but have little impact on those who use the drug for health reasons since most of those consumers are much older than the set age.

Either side is looking to take some action against the drug.  Side A – looking to ban it completely, which puts side B in fear that this will cause a black market for the drug to circulate and making it even more dangerous than it is being 100% unregulated. 

Although last night, on committee deadline, where if a bill is not brought up for discussion in the respected committee, it is labeled as “dead,’ and HB 1287, HB 1284 and SB 2084 is just that.

These three bills authored each by Fred Shanks (1287), Charles Younger (2084), and Angela Cockerham (1284) all died in their committees, so no further action will be taken.

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