Growing drug trend reaches Oklahoma

Growing drug trend reaches Oklahoma

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The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics wants you to check your children's online purchases for a popular drug. It's called Kratom.. and it's a growing trend that's already sent one Oklahoma to the hospital.

Right now, kratom is legal in Oklahoma, and you can get your hands on it at some convenience stores and especially online. There have only been a few cases in the state so far, but officials say things like this grow quickly. "We've had a few parents call and say their kids got some of the capsules at school or at a convenience store," says Mark Woodward, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

"It's simply an extract from a tree in Southeast Asia," says Woodward. He says the leaves of the tree can be made into everything from a liquid to a pill. Users say it's the legal form of heroin, with hallucinogenic effects like LSD.

"At lower doses, it has somewhat of a stimulant-type effect," says Scott Schaeffer, the Managing Director of the Oklahoma Poison Center. Recently, users are taking high doses, two to three pills at a time, several times a day.

"That causes more of an opposite effect- more like a sedative effect, like someone who just took a fistful of very strong painkillers," says Woodward.

"It honestly feels like I took about 40- to 60-milligrams of Oxycontin," says a man on YouTube, after he taking several of the pills.

In the past decade, the Oklahoma Poison Center says it's received maybe two calls about kratom, but recently the calls started growing. "Two of them were adults that used kratom, and one of them ended up in the emergency room," says Schaeffer.

"Just because it's sold in a gas station or purchased online does not mean it's safe," stresses Woodward. Like many drugs, kratom can have different effects on different people. "Kids can get a false sense of security. They may have a kid at a party take two or three and he has a benign effect. Another kid may have a very relaxing effect, and then a third kid takes the same amount and winds up in the hospital from dizziness, confusion, vomiting," says Woodward.

Also, the drug isn't regulated, so you never really know exactly what you're getting. "It's a natural product, so you don't necessarily know how much active ingredient is in the batch that you purchased or got ahold of," says Schaeffer.

Kratom is on the Federal Watchlist, but OBN plans to have the Governor sign off on a bill making it an illegal substance by May. Woodward says it hasn't become a big problem in the state yet, but they want to cut it off before it can. "It's just a matter of time before two kids tell four kids, who tell eight kids about what websites to visit, before it does become an issue," says Woodward. He says there are also concerns the drug could be used as a date-rape drug because of its sedative qualities.

If your children order things online, the experts recommend checking their packages so you know exactly what's coming into your home.

To contact the Oklahoma Poison Center, call 1-800-222-1222.

If you have tips on where kratom is being sold, or any information that can help the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, call 1-800- 522-8031.

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