SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You may have noticed signs around town in front of strip malls advertising something called Kratom. Not everyone is familiar with it, but the substance from the leaf of a Southeast Asian plant is growing in popularity– so much so it’s now more than a billion dollar business.
Supporters say it’s all natural and point to a host of reported benefits. But not everyone is sold on kratom, including many in the medical profession, who worry about its potential addictive properties and misuse.
“I think what’s frightening about it is, like with so many supplements, people view it as a natural healing substance, and don’t do their normal due diligence. Is this risky for me? Should I take it with my medication? Can I mix it with anything else?” Dr. Matt Stanley, Avera psychiatrist said.
“We make the arguments that consumer can responsibly use products that are properly labeled to ensure that they’re not adulterated; pure kratom is safe and we want it to remain legal,” C. M. “Mac” Haddow with the American Kratom Association said.
Six states and several cities have outlawed kratom, but South Dakota’s attempt to do so this year failed.
Coming up in the first part of our KELOLAND News Investigation into the Kratom Controversy, Angela Kennecke looks at the powerful kratom lobbying group’s battle with the Food and Drug Administration over the substance. Then Thursday night, Angela talks with a family who blames Kratom for a young Sioux Falls man’s death.