HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— A bill that would ban the sale of Kratom, a hallucinogenic drug, to individuals under 18 passed through the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with a 197-3 vote on Monday.
According to the FDA, Kratom is a drug derived from a tropical tree from Southeast Asia. The leaves of this tree contain compounds that could cause hallucinatory effects and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) said it produces opioid-like effects.
As of right now, Kratom is not a controlled substance. This means anyone, regardless of age, is able to purchase the drug.
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t defined Kratom as a controlled substance, it is listed as a “Drug of Concern” and said some users have become addicted to the drug.
Officials from NIDA said there are no official uses from the FDA, but people reportedly use it to manage drug withdrawal symptoms, pain, and fatigue.
It is important to note that while Kratom may not be regulated by the FDA, NIDA said Kratom has a very low overdose fatality rate. They said from 2011 to 2017, 11 people died from Kratom and only two of those deaths were associated with Kratom by itself.
The bill, if approved by the Senate, would ban the sale of the drug to minors and place a fine between $100 and $500 for the first offense on any retailer that violates the law.