'Groovy new drug' Kratom gaining in popularity - and perfectly legal

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Kratom is a perfectly legal herbal pill that's on the market at various online locations and smoke shops.

Its effects can be life threatening and can last for days, even weeks before feeling normal again. And the drug is 100 percent legal.

KBOI reporter Sarah Brodie went to a local Tobacco Connection shop to see if the store sells the herb. Employees wouldn't allow her to take video from inside the shop. But Kratom is really easy to purchase if you're over the 18 and you have $9.

Inside a bag of Kratom contains a capsule with green and black powder. Its effects can last three to five hours and "truly helps you obtain bliss, peace and tranquility. This product has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, cure or diagnose any disease."

"It's the groovy new drug," said Burny Wells, a drug counselor in Boise. | Kratom Facts

Wells says Kratom has been around the Treasure Valley for a while, but it's gaining in popularity. He lumps kratom in the same category as the so-called "bath salts" or "bathtub" drugs.

One of his patients had a bad experience.

"He was kind of experiencing psychosis for the three days and because of the lingering effects there was some questions as to whether he had become permanently psychotic," Wells said.

The effects, Wells said, are comparable to a mixture of LSD and cocaine.

"There's people it's going to be permanently damaging and (some may) die from it," he said.

And Wells is correct. Last Sunday in Cowlitz County, Washington, a female died from taking the drug.

"We're just really concerned that this product, which she clearly had been using, played a role in her death," said Charlie Rosenweig, chief deputy of Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office.

So, why do people take it?

Right now, it's a legal way to get high and pass a drug test. As of right now, no test out there can find whether Kratom is in your system.

"It's a way for them to get high and not get detected," officials say.

On the packaging, the drug says it's also used as a natural pain killer and for prolong sexual activity and the drug is 100 percent legal.

But drug counselor Wells warns Kratom is not just a gateway drug - it's long past that.

"When you're dealing with bathtub know, god only knows what's going to happen."