Parents and lawmakers call for Kratom ban
High praise for law enforcement officers in Shelby County and the stand they are taking against Kratom. Parents now want lawmakers to intervene to get the substance off convenience store shelves.
Alabama is the seventh largest consumer in the Kratom industry. Lawmakers in Montgomery are working on legislation that would ban Kratom because it is considered addictive.
For now, law enforcement in Shelby County are asking stores to take it off the shelves. Parents say it is a start.
"When it comes to protecting our children, we've got to do the right thing as adults," said Al Mickle, a father of six who's concerned Kratom is still sold without any restrictions.
"A lot of kids will do things just to try something once, to be cool," said Mickle.
Assistant district attorney Alan Miller says the signed letter is meant to encourage merchants, to quit selling products that contain Kratom. "We feel it is important that people understand what kind of a substance we are dealing with when we are talking about Kratom," said Miller. "Basically we're looking for their cooperation in helping us to protect families and children in our community."
It costs roughly $5 a bottle. Miller believes it is marketed toward young people.
"Based on the packaging, the location of the product, (if) you go into most of these gas stations, it's sitting right next to the cash registers, just above the candy bars," he said.
Miller says kratom can lead to an addiction.
"People are definitely developing a chemical dependence on this substance," said Miller. "Particularly for people who are vulnerable to opiate addiction."
Tinamarie Smith's son struggled with opiate addiction. She believes Kratom needs to be regulated.
"I think that legislation and being involved in trying to make some restrictions, or guidelines or age limits," she said.
Law enforcement says even if Kratom is banned or regulated, they are concerned about what is next. Before Kratom, there were synthetic marijuana and bathsalts.
Right now, they want parents to get involved and be informed about what their children are consuming.
Some claim Kratom is not a bad thing. ABC 33/40 spoke with leaders of the American Kratom Association.
A spokeperson says they are working to fight legislation across the country and here in Alabama, that ban the substance. They say Kratom --in its natural form-- offers several health benefits to battle pain, fatigue and anxiety.
Alabama is just one of a handful of states considering a ban.