Local shop sells herbal supplement as federal ban looms

The decision is having an impact on local residents.

The tea looks harmless enough, but the government says what's in it is as powerful as LSD.
However, we talked to some people today who say this it changed their lives. People like Nick Calitri, "I was diagnosed with severe PTSD, severe anxiety disorder and sever panic disorder about two years ago."
Calitri says he used to take several medications to treat all of that until he discovered the kratom tea.  "It relaxes me. It doesn't impair my vision, it doesn't impair anything at all. It just makes me calm."
"You have no idea how many people come up to me on a daily basis and thank me," said Sean Simpson.  He sells the tea at the Low Tide Kava Bar in Gulfport.  He's not happy with the government's decision to make it a schedule 1 drug, as illegal as heroin and LSD.  "I think it's unfair. It's an all natural plant that they have no reason to schedule it. They haven't even done the research yet."
Alfred Aleguas, managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa, says the government has good reasons to ban this supplement.  "I think they recognize the abuse potential, the misuse, abuse potential and it doesn't really have any approved medical or therapeutic use at this point."
Government officials claim its highly addictive. Meantime the folks that come here almost daily say they'll enjoy the tea while they still can.
The Low Tide Kava Bar will keep selling kratom tea until the Sept. 28.  That's two days before it becomes an illegal substance. 
Aleguas says herbal supplements can be especially dangerous for children.  You can always call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.


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