At the Board of Supervisors’ October 2 meeting, Sheriff Jimmy Edwards has asked the Union County Board to make a locally available “herbal” drug illegal.
“Kratom” is a naturally occurring substance made from the leaves of an evergreen tree in the coffee family, which is native to Southeast Asia. It’s scientific name is Mitragyna speciosa. It has been used in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mynamar and Papua New Guinea as a traditional medicine for well over 100 years.
Edwards told the board at its Monday, Oct. 2, meeting, that kratom, sometimes called “K Shots,” is available without prescription at convenience stores throughout the county. Kratom is said to have some opiod- and stimulant-like properties.
Edwards said that one Union Countian, a man without a prior criminal history, had started using kratom, purchased locally, for pain relief. The man developed a growing dependence on the K Shots, which grew into a $200 per day habit. The man said he started stealing to get the money to buy the herbal drug, was caught, and now has a criminal record.
Edwards said kratom is sold in Union County in single dose bottles containing 2 fluid ounces (60ml) for $18 – $20 each. The sheriff said one New Albany retailer is believed to have gross sales of more than $7,000 a month in the sale of kratom.
He said the Mississippi state legislature has been asked to outlaw kratom in the state, but has not done so.
Edwards asked the board to pass a county ordinance making the sale of Kratom a crime. Comments from board members seemed receptive to the sheriff’s suggestion. Board Attorney Chandler Rogers said he would look into what kind of ordinance the county could and should enact.
In other business Fred Ashwill of Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis told the board about the work his organization does in attempting to eliminate hunger. Ashwill said Mid-South Food Bank serves 18 counties in north Mississippi. He said his organization wants to set up a Mobile Pantry at the Union County Fairgrounds from 9 am until noon on Friday, Oct. 27. The board voted unanimously to approve the request.
In other business, the supervisors :
–Accepted a bid of $25,000 for the purchase of an asphalt pug mill. Cold Mix, Inc. submitted the only bid and was awarded the sale of the machine.
–Appointed Terry Johnson as its representative on the Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority.
The Union County board will meet again at 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.