Rapides Parish Police Jury unanimously votes to ban Kratom

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - On Monday, Oct 10, the Rapides Parish Police Jury unanimously voted to pass two ordinances that ban the sale and possession of the herbal supplement kratom.

Kratom is an herbal supplement derived from an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. It can be bought over the counter at most gas stations and smoke shops and contains two psychoactive compounds, and some say the effects are comparable to opioids. Ascension Parish became the first in Louisiana to ban the substance in August, and now Rapides Parish has followed suit.

Users say it can help with everything from sore muscles to headaches and insomnia, though the FDA says there is no proven medicinal use for it.

“We think it is something here in Rapides Parish that we want to address. There are enough things going around,” said Craig Smith, President of the Rapides Parish Police Jury. “So, anything we can take off the market that harms our children and constituents, we surely want to address it.”

Kratom is listed as a drug and chemical of concern by the DEA, but it remains unregulated by the federal government. The DEA also says the effects of kratom are addictive and can lead to deadly overdoses.

Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood echoed those thoughts and supports the ban.

“It’s very addictive, just like opioids,” said Sheriff Wood. “If it’s good for something, let’s look at it and control it, and let the medical field do what they need to do with it, but right now, the way they’re doing it, there is no good cause. I am in favor of the police jury doing this, I feel like I said Ascension Parish has went, we went and Grant Parish, I understand is going to be following. There are already rumblings in Baton Rouge of a statewide push on this.”

Local store owners who sell kratom say the product should not be banned, and that not only is it a great seller, but they have seen how the supplement can help those who need it.

“I don’t think it should be banned because many people take it, and we never hear someone got hurt from kratom. A lot of people buy it, especially old people, and it helps them a lot,” said a local store owner, who is remaining anonymous.

The ban took effect on Monday, Oct. 10, and those caught selling or possessing kratom could face up to a $500 fine or six months in jail for a first offense, with even harsher penalties for repeat offenders.

You can read the full ordinances below:

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