New ‘legal drug’ of concern to law enforcement, government officials

GOSHEN – Kratom is being marketed as an energy supplement and can be purchased at convenience stores, but its effects have police and local government officials worried.

The substance, made from a leaf grown in Southeast Asia, can have devastating effects on users, said Orange County Police Chiefs Association President Paul Rickard, chief of the Mount Hope Police Department.

“I think what the concern is that it can give similar effects to heroin and opioids and when taken in large quantities you can actually overdose on this drug,” he said. “And, I think that the concern is that you can walk into just about any convenience store or gas station and buy it over the counter.”

At a committee meeting of the county legislature last week, a mother and father said they lost two sons to opioid overdoses. One son got off opioids, but then overdosed on Kratom.

Rickard said there are no regulations on the drug in New York State. It is banned in Indiana, Tennessee, and Vermont. Legislation banning the drug has been introduced in other states who no action taken to date.