Palm Beach County commissioners are considering a ban on a currently legal substance known as Kratom. The substance comes from Kratom trees native to Thailand and has been used as an herbal drug. After a tragic incident that resulted in a young Florida man’s suicide, local officials are considering more serious regulation.
Related: Getting High Off Kratom
Difference of opinions
Currently, Kratom is banned in its native Thailand as well as Malaysia. In the United States, it remains unregulated by the U.S. federal government, but is classified among a list of “Drugs and Chemicals of Concern.”
The drug has been banned in some states for its similarities to opiates and potential for addiction, but there are some who claim it’s nothing more than an herbal tonic. In an interview with the Sun Sentinel, Peter Isaacs, a man who works at a kava bar in West Palm Beach, said that it’s natural and not comparable to other drugs. “It’s not a mind-altering thing,” said Isaacs. However, the controversial substance has those who say otherwise.
Three years ago, Kratom user Michelle Tesarek spoke to West Palm Beach’s WPTV about her experience. After several months of using, she found herself hooked, and checked into rehab. “Everybody thought it was the silliest thing to check myself into treatment for,” said Tesarek. “But at the same time I was scared to death.”
A tragic story of a life ended too soon
In late August, the issue made its way to the Palm Beach County Commission, following the death of 20-year-old Ian Mautner. Mautner committed suicide by jumping off an I-95 overpass in Boynton Beach earlier this summer; his mother blames the heartbreaking tragedy on Ian’s addiction to Kratom.
The toxicology report hasn’t been released yet, but the incident sparked an initiative. The county commissioners called for an official investigation into local kava bars’ active ingredients on August 20, 2014. The investigation has just started, so no word yet on the outcome, but we’ll certainly keep you posted.
Staying away from substances like Kratom
For those in recovery, Kratom could seem like a tempting way to “escape.” But it’s critically important to remember that replacing one addiction with another isn’t true recovery – it’s relapse.
If you are struggling with an addiction or have a loved on who is, regardless of the legality of the substance, get help. The Watershed is here to take your call 24/7: 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Kratom, kratom overdose, kratom withdrawal