Mississippi county bans sale of Kratom, Tianeptine

Published 8:08 am Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Soon, the sale of Kratom-based products will be illegal in Pearl River County.

Currently Kratom based products can be found in a variety of tobacco stores and convenience stores across the county, but two people spoke to the Board of Supervisors on Monday to plea for an ordinance that would ban the sale of such products.

Laruen Goar, who is an advocate against local drug use and a self-proclaimed person who has dealt with addiction, and Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department narcotics Detective Joe Garcia, shared some information to help the Board decide.

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Goar began her presentation by stating that her journey to beat addiction through programs such as Teen Challenge gives her insight into opioids. According to drugabuse.gov, Katrom is a plant grown in South Asia that can have opioid-like properties if consumed by humans.

Goar said some of the products that can be found locally include a powder form, as an ingredient in energy drinks and even in pill form.

Garcia said he’s noticed the products appear to be marketed to young people, and at times is said to help people deal with addictions to other substances. While the product is described as having opioid-like properties, Goar warns that substituting one substance for another does not help people beat addiction, it only replaces the previous substance.

There have also been reports of people overdosing on the substance, leading to them acting strangely. Garcia said he has been on calls where young people allegedly took the substance and began acting “out of their minds.”

Some people who are going through the Drug Court program have also been found to be lethargic during a Drug Court visit, later determined to have taken a Kratom-based product.

At times people younger than 18 have been known to purchase the products from local retailers because the clerks working the register fail to check IDs, Garcia said.
While there is no feder

al ban on the substance to date, Goar said that dozens of cities and states have already passed laws banning the sale of Kratom-based products. Another substance similar to Kratom that Goar and Garcia asked the Board to ban is Tianeptine, which is a drug used to treat depression. Both drugs are said to become habit-forming in people who use them recreationally and frequently, as such they can lead to withdrawals in those who have become addicted.

Garcia said that many of the stores currently selling those substances were part of a recent sting operation by local law enforcement agencies to remove illegal vape products from their inventory.

Board attorney Joe Montgomery said he has started a draft of an ordinance, similar to one passed in another city in the state.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday made a motion to have Montgomery complete the ordinance and add Tianeptine to the list of banned substances. That motion passed unanimously to applause from those in attendance.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin advised the Board that in order for the ordinance to have any effect, both city governments in Pearl River County will have to pass the same or similar ordinances since County ordinances do not carry much weight in cities.

State Representative Timmy Ladner, who was present for Monday’s meeting, said that there is a large lobby group that supports the sale of Kratom, but the topic has been discussed in the Legislature. However, Lader said he can not promise when the matter will be taken up since the Legislature is currently working on marijuana legislation.