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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 10, 2019 03:02 PM
From: Representative Scott Conklin
To: All House members
Subject: Save lives. Protect families. Preserve Pennsylvania. Ban kratom!
What happens when a treatment for pain becomes a life-changing addiction? The answer is the opioid epidemic that has plagued Pennsylvania for many years. Sadly, the next “remedy” on the market, which is sold as an herbal supplement, is starting to take lives right here in Pennsylvania and it is called kratom. Before kratom becomes the next crisis in Pennsylvania, we need to work together to ban this dangerous and mislabeled product.

Kratom is derived from the leaves of a tree, Mitragyna speciosa, which is part of the coffee family that grows in southeast Asia. The active ingredient in kratom, mitragynine, is an addictive substance that acts on the brain's opioid receptors. It is sold in as an herbal product, however, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the medical claims that accompany the product are unproven. Specifically, many versions of the herbal product claim that it will "relieve opium withdrawals" and that it treats medical conditions, including diarrhea, depression, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, stomach parasites, diverticulitis, anxiety, and alcoholism. Herbal and holistic supplement stores and some convenience stores sell kratom in pill form, powder form, or loose, dried leaf form. Kratom can be taken as a tablet, capsule or extract formulation, or in its purer forms it is chewed, brewed into a tea or smoked.

This issue was first brought to my attention by Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna who shared his concerns based on his office’s observations and experiences with kratom. While Centre County is home to Penn State University, I was assured by DA Cantorna that kratom is affecting a broad spectrum of people, not just college-aged folks, just like opioids. If kratom is in my area, then there is a good chance it is somewhere in yours too.

Before kratom takes lives, destroys families and creates further drug-related havoc in Pennsylvania, let’s work together to ban kratom before it becomes a widespread epidemic!

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