Channel 9 report inspires legislation against Kratom

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina lawmaker says a Channel 9 report inspired him to file legislation against Kratom.

Sen. Tom McGinnis, R-Rockingham, told Channel 9 by phone that after watching Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Bruno's investigation into Kratom, he decided to file legislation to add it to the state's controlled substance list.

Channel 9 reported in February on Lauren Eden, whose son John committed suicide in May 2015. According to Eden, John's usage of Kratom spiraled out of control after he used the substance it to treat depression.

A Channel 9 investigation found that Kratom is being sold across the Carolinas and is advertised for sale on the side of highways.

Supporters say it's a natural herb. A local Kratom website calls it an alternative treatment for diabetes, depression, pain and addiction.

Channel 9 reported that the FDA thinks it poses a risk to public health and has the potential for abuse. Drug experts say there is no scientific evidence showing that Kratom is a cure for addiction.

McGinnis introduced legislation this week to add Kratom to North Carolina's list of controlled substances.

"It's another one of these fringe herbs that is not monitored by anyone, it's not certified by anyone, the FDA has not approved it," McGinnis said.

North Carolina would be the sixth state to make Kratom illegal. Alabama banned the sale of the herb this month.

McGinnis said he wants to prevent deaths like John Eden’s.

"We need to be paying very strict attention as to what is out there," he said.

The bill is in committee and both houses will need to approve it.