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Kratom is illegal in Tennessee and several other states

Tennessee's laws are hard on drugs for a reason; when they're not, new drugs hit the market and begin to infiltrate the state. One such drug has recently been in the news. It's an opioid-like drug, and because it is not an opiate, much easier to get. Called Kratom, this drug is legal in states such as Georgia. However, it is now illegal in Tennessee.

Why is Kratom illegal? It's simple. It doesn't show up on most drug tests. The Catoosa County Coroner has claimed that the drug is a gateway drug, though that has not been verified through research. Online, people claim that Kratom helps treat pain and isn't addictive. Others believe differently.

So far, Georgia has reported 17 deaths related to the drug in 2017. It's relatively inexpensive, which makes it easy for most people to buy. It's approximately $34, and it's available locally at gas stations and similar locations. Since the drug hasn't been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it's not clear if it's safe for consumption. Additionally, no one is sure how many doses comes in a single bag or how much is safe to take at once.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wanted to list the drug as a schedule I substance in 2016, which would place it in the same category as drugs like cocaine or heroin. People petitioned to prevent that from happening. In Tennessee, that petition wasn't enough to stop lawmakers from outlawing Kratom. Tennessee is one of only six states where it isn't legal.

For now, if you're caught with this substance, you need to protect yourself and defend your case. It's legal in other states, but you don't have a right to it in Tennessee.

Source: News Channel 9 ABC, "Opioid-mimicking substance becomes popular in Chattanooga area," Hannah Lawrence, accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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