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City Board 11-7: Controversial Kratom again takes the spotlight

Melanie Victor, from Tennessee, speaks in opposition to kratom ban under discussion at Board of Alderment meeting.

About half of the city board’s 90-minute meeting Tuesday was a debate about prohibiting the sale of an herbal “drug,” which law enforcement leaders say is dangerous.

The herb is called kratom. It is a plant in the coffee family, indigenous to Asia, which has been used there for centuries to relieve pain, boost energy and to treat opium addiction. Kratom is listed as an ingredient on the labels of what are commonly called “K Shots.” Packaged as a single dose liquid, usually about two ounces, K Shots have been widely available in convenience stores in our area. Kratom is just one of several ingredients in several brands of K Shots.

[See link below to an informative article about kratom.]

Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards first brought his concern about K Shots to the attention of the Union County Board of Supervisors about a month ago. Edwards said a Union County man was recently arrested for felony theft. The man told Edwards he had committed the theft to support “a two-hundred dollar per day” addiction to K Shots. Edwards asked the county board to ban the sale of K Shots in Union County. The board responded by adding “synthetic opioids” to a list of other substances banned in the county.

Tuesday evening New Albany Police Chief Chris Robertson asked the New Albany Board of Aldermen to ban K Shots in the city as well. The matter was placed on the official agenda for the Nov. 7 city board meeting.

Both Sheriff Edwards and Chief Robertson appeared before the board to speak in favor of a city ordinance to prohibit the sale of products containing kratom.

Two women from out of state, Melanie Victor, from Tennessee, and Kelly Devine, from Kentucky, spoke to the board to argue against the ban of kratom.

Victor, who identified herself as a registered nurse, told the board about what she said were the legitimate benefits of kratom. She said that the “pure” kratom, sold by legitimate sources, was a completely different product from the K Shots that purport to contain kratom. She said the legitimate kratom is brewed and consumed as a tea.

Victor said the K Shots contain many ingredients other than kratom, and that other ingredients, not kratom, were the cause of the criminal behavior described by law enforcement officers.

Devine identified herself as a person formerly addicted to many drugs. She said that the use of kratom had made it possible for her recover from the various drug addictions.

Board members discussed the arguments presented by both sides, including the fact that all the actual contents of K Shots are not known. Sheriff Edwards said he and his deputies were “not going to be arresting anyone for using tea.”

Mayor Tim Kent pointed out that banning kratom would not necessarily stop the use of dangerous K Shots, that sellers could simply remove the word kratom from the list of ingredients on the bottles and continue selling the potentially harmful K Shots.
Eventually, after advice from City Attorney Regan Russell regarding the exact wording of the city ordinance, the aldermen unanimously approved to pass an ordinance intended to prohibit the sale of the K Shot products in the city.

Ironically, as the arguments about kratom raged in the board meeting room on the second floor of city hall, Victor and Devine hosted a tea party in the city hall lobby. They brewed up a small pot of kratom tea and served it to several people in the lobby.

[ will post a story later today about the less controversial business conducted at city hall Tuesday night.]

More about Kratom: Kratom, balm or bane?

On November 10, 2017, received the following emails regarding the above story, and has corrected the one factual error in the story:

I would like to point out two glaring errors in your report, and would ask that they be corrected in your article.

1. Kelly Devine is from Kentucky, not Tennessee.

2. Ms. Devine was never a drug addict. She is a recovering alcoholic with 20 years’ sobriety.

I would appreciate your response soon.

Martha McClain

I have to say I was terribly disappointed when reading the report. There is a HUGE difference between 20 yrs sobriety and taking kratom as a safer alternative and just taking kratom for addiction the past 3 yrs. I have NEVER been an addict, I never abused my meds, I was not only surprised but personally offended my story was nothing like I shared in the meeting. This totally takes all credibility away from my 20 yrs experience helping addicts and alcoholics detox the way you wrote my story out.

THIS is why I never talk to the media, twisting facts to make a person look like a strung out addict instead of a responsible sober member of society in long standing.

Kelly Devine
Kratom United 

5 Comments on City Board 11-7: Controversial Kratom again takes the spotlight

  1. Tonda Groetzinger // November 10, 2017 at 8:46 AM //

    Kratom is the key to unlocking opiate addiction. Banning kratom will only send more users back to heroin and deadly fentanyl. K shots are garbage. Those may not even have real kratom in it. Keep loose leaf powder legal.

    • If kratom is the key to unlocking opiate addiction then please tell me why a ban on this drug will send users back to heroin? The truth is that kratom is a band aid. When it falls off the wound is still there. Why are so many kratom users finding themselves relapsing? Because all an addict is doing is pacifying. There are better ways to detox from kratom. Proven to be safe and very effective, these alternatives do not cause the addict to simply trade up vices. These alternatives have never directly or indirectly been the cause of injury or death. As you know, this isn’t the case with kratom.

  2. People with no understanding wanting to ban things again. One of the biggest things kratom is used for is people trying to get off of opiates, like heroin and pills, as it eases the withdrawal symptoms.

    There’s an opiate epidemic and things like this are counter productive!

    • Kratom is not the answer to the opioid epidemic, Zac. There are safer alternatives that are very effective and do not leave the addict with another dependency.
      These alternatives have never caused a death. Kratom has caused many. Kratom is also known to cause extreme withdrawl symptoms. This is denied by kratom advocates but the truth is that these symptoms can be just as debilitating as one from heroin. The PAWS are known to last for months.
      Kratom is not the answer.

  3. The Truth About Kratom

    Know the TRUTH.

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