What’s inside Kratom pills sold in Birmingham?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Our CBS 42 Investigative Team is looking into a mind-altering herb being sold in Birmingham gas stations.

It’s called Kratom, an herb that comes from a tree in Asia. Kratom acts on the same receptors in the human brain as opiate medications. Kratom supporters say the herb is a natural alternative to prescription drugs.

Jacky Gann is in charge of the men’s drug recovery program at The Foundry in Bessemer. He’s concerned about children getting their hands on something that could be addictive.

“This isn’t just something they’re putting in a drink now that potentially could be bad for you,” Gann said, “This can destroy your life.”

In Birmingham, Kratom is for sale at gas stations in pill form and in liquid form. Kratom is unregulated by the FDA, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement agency confirms Kratom has the potential for addiction.

The McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University ran a targeted analysis of the two Kratom samples our CBS 42 team found.

They tested a Kratom product by Organic Pleasure Management (O.P.M.) and another product called Magic City Kratom. In both samples the following alkaloids were found: Mitragyne, 7-OH-mitragynine, Paynantheine, Speciogynine, Speciociliatine

Researchers found the O.P.M. product contained approximately three-to five times higher level of the various indole alkaloids as compared to the Magic City Kratom product.

No directions for usage appear on either Kratom package. Researchers say their test is not an exhaustive analysis of all extracted plant material or other compounds that might be present in the products.

The Jefferson County Narcotics Unit has submitted Kratom products to the Department of Forensic Sciences for more testing.

CBS 42 reached out to several Kratom supporters in Birmingham; no one agreed to an on-camera interview.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-CBS42

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