Kratom latest herb on warning list

Allow us to introduce you to one of the most popular herbs in the world that you've never heard of. It's call Kratom, and it could be on the verge of exploding into the next substance to abuse.

Highly popular in Asia for its euphoric properties, Kratom's benefits are dubious.

"It actually produces a little bit of euphoria, and some opiate like effects," says Dr. Alfred Aleguas, director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa.

Aleguas is very familiar with Kratom, but its danger was flying under the radar until 10 News started asking questions. A quick search of emergency calls to the poison control center about Kratom surprised even these professionals.

"So Citrus, Broward, Palm Beach. Pinellas is a hot spot!," said JoAnn Chambers-Emerson, the Poison Information Center's Education Coordinator.

MORE INFO:Background on Kratom

10 News asked: "When you looked in your computer what did you find?"

Chambers-Emerson said, "I was surprised at the number of cases because I hadn't heard any buzz about in the center, 'Oh, here's a new drug.' "

Kratom is an herbal supplement that can be legally purchased at health food stores and online. Traditionally, it's used to help alleviate addiction withdrawals, but it's now being mixed with other powerful herbs and the results can be dangerous.

LEARN MORE:DEA facts about Kratom

"I'd be paying more attention to it," said Aleguas.

Kratom is now on the state's radar and lawmakers have asked the attorney general to investigate.


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