Louisiana Parishes Debate Ban on Kratom Over Fear of Increased Drug Addiction
Kratom, a plant native to southeast Asia, is causing concern among Louisiana residents and lawmakers. The plant, also known by its colloquial names such as thang, kakuam, thom, ketum and biak, has been the subject of debates and discussions due to its potential health risks and addictive qualities.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration have produced a fact sheet that highlights the dangers of kratom. According to the fact sheet, the plant leaves contain two key chemicals - mitragynine and 7-hydroxymytragynine - that can cause psychotic activity. While some users report that the plant helps relieve pain, consuming kratom can lead to a range of effects, including stimulation in lower doses, sedation in higher doses, and even psychosis. Furthermore, it can lead to addiction and dependence on the plant.
Kratom is commonly consumed in various forms, including pills, teas made from dried or powdered leaves, chewed leaves, and smoked leaves. The long-term effects of kratom use can be serious, including addiction, hallucinations, delusion, confusion, and a long list of side effects like nausea, itching, sweating, anorexia, insomnia, and seizures.
Currently, kratom is not regulated by the DEA, which means it is not illegal. However, in 2019, the Louisiana Legislature approved a bill that would make kratom illegal if the DEA regulated it. Despite this, two parishes in Louisiana - Ascension and Rapides - have banned the plant locally, and state Senator urged the St. Tammany Parish Council to follow suit. Most recently, leaders in Livingston Parish are considering a ban on kratom.
Given these potential health risks, it's important for individuals to educate themselves on the dangers of kratom and to make informed decisions about its use. It is also crucial for lawmakers to consider the potential consequences of the plant and to make decisions that protect the health and well-being of their constituents.