St. Charles officials work to ban potentially life-threatening substance kratom


ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOX) — They don't know much about it, but St. Charles County officials are moving to ban an opioid-like substance that's currently available legally.

Kratom comes from a tropical evergreen tree native to southeast Asia. It triggers the same receptors in your brain that an opioid would and, if you take too much, you can go into respiratory depression and possibly die.

That's what worries medical examiner Dr. Mary Case.

"Because it's not regulated, if you take a very large amount of it, you could die from it, and there's nothing on the package that tells you only take this three times a day or once a day," Case said.

Case said it's already been banned in a number of places.

"In Illinois it's been banned in Jerseyville and Alton," Case said. "It's been banned in a number of countries including Israel, Japan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam."

Case admits they don't know much about Kratom or what regulation of it could look like. St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said Kratom shops, like those in Wentzville and St. Charles, will just have to sell other things if this ordinance passes — it's slated for a first reading Monday night.

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