BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Kratom is an herb that comes from a tree in Asia. Now, you can buy it in Birmingham as a drink or as a pill in low doses.
It acts as a stimulant. In higher doses, it acts as a pain-relieving sedative.
Jacky Gann, who works with the Foundry Rescue Mission, says he knows something else about Kratom.
“This isn’t something they’re putting in a drink now that potentially could be bad for you,” Gann said. “This can destroy your life.”
Gann works with men who are trying to kick their addictions to narcotics.
Gann and his team have confiscated bottles of liquid Kratom from men in the Foundry’s recovery program.
“I know people who are addicted to heroin who try it,” Gann said. “They say it’s the exact same feeling. Same draw, same withdrawal from it.”
Kratom is banned at The Foundry, and Gann wants it to be banned elsewhere until more research can be done on the drug.
Supporters of Kratom shared their thoughts on CBS42’s Facebook page. Some people who suffer from chronic pain told CBS42 that Kratom is a natural alternative to prescription painkillers.
Because of that response, CBS42 decided to drop off samples of Kratom at Samford University’s School of Pharmacy.
The samples will go through a chemical analysis in order to find out what exactly is in the drug being sold.
Gann wants Kratom to be every parent’s radar.
“Families need to start asking their kids if they’ve been exposed to it at school,” said Gann.
The FDA has not studied Kratom enough to know if it is safe.
Meanwhile, Kratom pills and drinks are flying off the shelves.
2014 WIAT-TV CBS42