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SPECIAL REPORT: New, Legal Drug Hits Miami Valley
UNDATED -- A new, legal drug has hit the Miami Valley. It's called Kratom, and as we discovered, your kids can easily buy it online in just seconds.
If you haven't heard of Kratom, you're not alone.
"It's a relatively new substance and it's kind of unknown for us," said Brooke Ehlers with the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab.
The lab has only gotten a handful of Kratom samples in the past couple years. The plant is in the same family as the coffee tree and native to Southeast Asia, but it's gaining popularity here in Ohio.
"It's another substance that people are using to get high. There's no legislation on it right now so there's not a lot that we can do," Ehlers said.
In small doses, Kratom acts as a stimulant. In larger amounts, an opiate. Users tout its benefits, some even saying Kratom has helped them overcome addictions to pain pills and heroin.
"The very first time I tried Kratom is the last time I took pain pills," said Wesley Todd, owner of online company Mayan Kratom.
Todd suffers from severe pain from a bad motorcycle accident. He swears by daily doses of Kratom instead of pain pills.
"I'm on Kratom right now. I took Kratom when I got up this morning and I feel great. I'm not hallucinating like some of the news stories try to say. I have no side effects," Todd said.
However, according to the DEA, there is "no legitimate medical use for Kratom" and both the agency and the Ohio Attorney General consider it a "drug of concern."
"There are a lot of things that people take that they say make them feel better. Kratom is not approved medically in the United States, it has no known medical uses," said Deputy Chief Counsel for the Ohio Attorney General Jonathan Fulkerson.
The legality surrounding Kratom is sort of a gray area in Ohio. It's OK to have it, as long as you don't consume it. But not many people buy Kratom to put it on a countertop. That's why the AG's office is looking into making it a banned substance similar to heroin, cocaine or bath salts.
"We want to stop it before it becomes widespread," said Fulkerson.
But Kratom can already be easily purchased online. We bought a bag for less than $30. We're not going to tell you the name of the site, but it only took a few minutes to buy. And the entire process was 100 percent legal.
"It's not a controlled substance under federal law and it's not a controlled substance in the state of Ohio," Fulkerson said.
That is why it's so readily available to anyone with Internet access, and many Kratom users are pushing for it to stay that way.
"Honestly, would I give it to my own kids, yes. I would have no problem with it. It's in the same family as coffee. I wouldn't sell any product that I wouldn't give to my own kids," Todd said.
Kratom is currently illegal in Indiana and Tennessee. The Attorney General's office says there is no time frame on when Kratom could potentially be banned in Ohio.
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