MEDFORD, Ore. — The use of an over the counter substance is on the rise in Medford, despite it being around for hundreds of years. Kratom can be found at local smoke shops in a variety of forms ranging from pills to energy shots.
“It does give a pain killer, a little bit of an energy shot and it can take away the relief for withdrawals,” said Magic Man employee Greg Bettes.
Bettes said a variety of customers both young and old come in looking for Kratom. He said he has seen customers who are addicted to prescription drugs be able to kick the habit after taking Kratom, with none of the withdrawal symptoms.
“The most I’ve heard for a long term effect is that it’s no different from drinking or using Vicodin,” said Bettes.
However, law enforcement officials and government agencies say Kratom can be highly addictive and although legal, it can be dangerous.
“It is out there unlike synthetic marijuana, Kratom is not a controlled substance. It’s been on the watch list by the DEA,” said Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Sgt. Kevin Walruff.
Sgt. Walruff said knowledge and awareness of Kratom’s effects is important for both retailers and customers.
“I think people need to be responsible who are selling it, people need to be responsible who are using it, that they are using it responsibly,” said Sgt. Walruff.
Bettes says that responsibility is important to him and is why information about Kratom is available before anything is purchased.
“I get new people coming in every single day, that’s why we have got pamphlets so that we can inform people on what it does that way they’re not going home with a complete misconception on how it is used,” said Bettes.