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State lawmaker wants to make Kratom illegal

Shreveport KSLA-TV 3/3/2023 Chris Rosato
Kratom © Provided by Shreveport KSLA-TV Kratom

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Whether in a nearby gas station or your local smoke shop, you’ve likely seen kratom on the shelves of one store or another.

The plant, native to Southeast Asia, has similar effects on the brain as opioids, according to doctors. Some even believe it may be the solution to the opioid epidemic. But folks like state Representative Gabe Firment hold a different view.

“You know it’s a very dangerous drug and it’s not regulated at all. In fact, you know, we had a young man killed by a kratom overdose here in Grant parish and that’s really what prompted the interest at the local level,” said Rep. Firment (R).

Even the FDA has concerns of its own calling the synthetic drug addictive and potentially deadly. Kratom has already been banned at the local level in both Livingston and Grant, and Ascension parish. Rep. Firment now wants to apply those rules statewide and classify kratom as a schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.

“It would of course make it illegal to sell kratom or to process it,” Rep. Firment explained.

But there are some who believe kratom has the potential to help save lives.

The American Kratom Association has come out before and said there are no cases of death directly linked to kratom use alone adding kratom is “non-habit forming unless taken in extremely high doses for extended periods of time”. There’s even this Facebook group called Louisiana for Kratom. We reached out to the admin of the page for comment but did not hear back.

“I think once we hear from law enforcement and healthcare, I think support for this bill will be overwhelming and we’re going to get it passed. And we’re going to protect children, and people out there struggling with addiction,” Rep. Firment added.

Synthetic drug is already illegal in several other states. We’ll need to wait until the regular session starts in April to see if Louisiana will be next on that list.

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