The newest target in Alabama’s war on drugs may be something you’ve never heard of before: A powerful painkiller known as kratom.
Kratom is described as either an herb or a drug, depending on who you ask. It’s made from the leaves of the kratom tree, a plant native to Asia. Advocates love it, saying that it provides pain relief on par or better than opioids and is a tool that can relieve chronic depression. Critics say it’s another type of dangerous narcotic and needs to be banned. For now, it’s widely available on the internet and is legal in many states.
Not so, however, in Alabama.
While the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) backed down from efforts to label kratom a dangerous, addictive substance on par with heroin back in 2016, Alabama didn’t. The state legislator declared kratom to be a “Schedule 1” drug, meaning that its likelihood for causing addiction outweighs any potential medical benefits the drug may have.
Alabama is one of only six states that has chosen to make kratom illegal. It’s wide availability elsewhere, however, and is causing confusion for a lot of people — the kind of confusion that results in jail time. For example, one Florida man traveling within the state simply admitted to police that he was transporting kratom in his car during a routine traffic stop. He had no idea the drug was illegal in Alabama. His arrest was the second within the last month because of the drug.
Not only is kratom illegal in Alabama, having it in your possession in large quantities during a traffic stop is highly likely to result in a drug trafficking charge. If you’ve been arrested for having or using kratom, reach out to a defense attorney for advice.