News 5 Investigates: The legal status of the drug Kratom after two recent arrests

Baldwin County

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — In the last month, two Florida men have been arrested for drug trafficking in Baldwin County, after getting caught with Kratom in their possession.

Kratom is am opioid-like, plant-derived substance. It’s illegal in six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The latest arrest was Monday morning in Orange Beach. Police say the suspect openly admitted to having Kratom on him during a traffic stop, not knowing the substance was illegal in the state of Alabama.

Kratom is unregulated. In some states it’s entirely legal, in some there are age restrictions, and in some states – the drug is illegal in certain counties.

Virginia Guy with the Mobile Drug Education Council says there’s a fine line when it comes to the effects of Kratom.

“Lower doses it can produce some pleasurable effects some better sociability, in higher doses we start to see the sedation and the pain effects,” she said. She also says children and teens should stay away from the substance. “The drug being used by someone 14, 15, 16, 17 is far more dangerous that it being used by somebody who’s a lot older .”

We spoke with Matt Cabo with the American Kratom Association over the phone. He defends Kratom’s use as a pain and anxiety reliever, but says he agrees with the idea of age restrictions. He also says the organization is moving forward with some regulatory moves with certain state legislatures.

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