Kratom Causes Concerns in Carbondale

CARBONDALE, Pa. -- There is a backlash in the city of Carbondale after a new business advertised sales of the drug Kratom.

The substance is legal, but the feds have concerns while the store's owner says it helps his customers.

Endless Mountains Glass Gallery is new to Carbondale. The owner moved the business here recently from nearby Mayfield.

The storefront had a large sign for Kratom which caused a lot of concern on social media. While the FDA has warnings out, some swear it's medicine and can help with addiction to opiates.

Ray Depew helps a customer at his Endless Mountains Glass gallery in Carbondale. The man was looking for something to relax him and Depew sold him Kratom.

"It's all organic, the powder I get imported straight from Indonesia," Depew said.

So far, Kratom is legal and comes in pills or powder. Depew tells Newswatch 16 his customers use it as a substitute for painkillers.

"Most of my customers are 40 or 50 and they take it for arthritis or joint pain, or back pain."

Recently, posts on social media have caused concern over the sales of Kratom in Carbondale. Depew has taken the brunt of the backlash.

"I'm just selling a product that people need and people want. If that makes me some kind of monster, I don't understand the reasoning."

When it comes to Kratom, there are no less than two other places in Carbondale already selling the substance, including along Route 6 right next to the high school and elementary school. So far, the feds and the state have not done anything to regulate Kratom.

"It is legal. I just think there's not enough knowledge about it. I'm sure it's abused but you have to pay attention to what people are doing," said Carbondale resident Caitlyn Phillips.

"A new business pops into town. They put a giant sign up. Everyone's losing their minds about it," said Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor.

The mayor doesn't know of any issues police have had with Kratom users. Taylor says the city can't prevent anyone including the Drive 'n Buy and Carbondale Mini Mart from selling it.

Several states have banned it.

"We're concerned about a product like this," said Mayor Taylor. "Don't want to see it get into the wrong hands. But no different from alcohol or tobacco, don't want to see people abuse it."

Depew says he'll stop selling Kratom if it's banned but says he doesn't sell to kids.

The feds and the state still haven't taken steps to regulate Kratom which means there's no telling what's in some of the packages. Some studies suggest it can help opioid addictions.

24 comments

  • Laura Jones

    Kratom has been used safely and effectively for centuries around the world. This is not a new substance and in fact over 5 million people consume kratom every day in the US. Before I stumbled upon it I was heavily medicated, in severe pain, and highly depressed on my couch. It has completely changed my quality of life. I still have bad days and sometimes atruggle with pain but there is absolutely no comparison to the side effects of the countless drugs I was prescribed every day to manage my health. Public policy should be based on fact. The fact is that pure kratom has never killed anyone on its own. FDA approved meds kill 2400 people per week In the US and those are the ones taken as prescribed for legitimate conditions. People deserve the right to have options and adults can make their own choices in regards to how to best manage their health. There’s a lot of science showing that pure kratom is both safe and effective and NIDA has just approved a $3.5 million grant to study it more closely because it works and does not cause respiratory depression which is what causes death in traditional opioids. If you examine the 44 deaths the FDA claims you can see that one died from a gunshot wound, one died from falling out a windows and refusing treatment, and all of the others had a toxic mix of other illicit or prescription drugs in their system. Someone mentioned the 600 calls to poison control. That was over a 5 year period of time and a great deal of them were simply asking what kratom was. Virtually none received any medical treatment and not one person died. There are over 40,000 calls to poison control each year for energy drinks which you can buy anywhere and over 100,000 for Tylenol which kills far more people than kratom ever could. Pennsylvania is loosing people every day to opioids and to take a safe and effective alternative off the market is not only insane it is extremely dangerous.

  • Jennifer Wilk

    Kratom is a safe, natural botanical supplement (relative to the coffee plant) that’s been used safely by millions of people for thousands of years (which is still legal in our state and the majority of U.S. states). Like many supplements, it may boost immune response, promote relaxation, help inflammation, and increase overall well-being. It disturbs me that the FDA’s unscientific misrepresentation of kratom has painted an inaccurate, deadly picture comparable to that of alcohol and/or nicotine or a supplement that can be abused. As news articles propel confusion by using inaccurate story lines and unsubstantiated details, it’s creating a Misinformation Effect. Like myself, many people read headlines (possibly an additional article or two) then make an assumption on presented “facts” cited before easily likening the innocuous botanical kratom to a deadly substance such as alcohol or nicotine (unless the person has personal experience or knows someone whose health and well-being benefited from a supplementation regimen including kratom). Call me naive, but I’ve always had an innate hope and trust that our government prioritizes information provided and values what benefits American health, survival, and well-being. I’m skeptical enough to know officials are not always forthright about their ways and means; however, after spending countless hours researching kratom and evaluating sources to determine reliability and validity, I’m convinced the FDA must have an underlying motive that can’t possibly be in our benefit regarding Americans’ right to supplement their own health with safe, natural herbs and botanicals. I believe demonizing kratom is just the beginning of this new war on natural supplements.

    National Institutes on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) recently performed a comprehensive review of scientific studies/information before determining that “kratom use does not cause overdose deaths.” Closer investigations reveal no fatalities documented that can be singularly linked to use of the natural kratom plant.

    It’s alarming the FDA is tasked with basing public information/warnings using reliable and valid scientific evidence yet they refuse to do so knowing kratom is safe. Instead, they should look into possible regulation ensuring Americans receive safe, unadulterated products.

    • George Chang

      Wow, Jennifer Wilk! SO eloquent! Thank you! And I was trying to think of the word “demonize” when I settled on vilify. :-)

  • George Chang

    I share the sentiment that it’s refreshing to see a news piece that doesn’t have an obvious agenda to vilify this amazing plant. There is absolutely no way kratom alone kills anyone. It’s impossible to OD on the plant. If you take too much you throw up. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression off and on most of my life and have been using kratom daily for years. I’m a father, husband and network engineer that is the main bread winner for my family. Kratom hasn’t ruined my life or our family. On the contrary, it has significantly improved my quality of life. After taking it for several months my wife told me she actually noticed an improvement in my general mood. And you know what I’m addicted to now? Running. I run 9 miles 3 to 5 times a week with a 17 or 20 mile run thrown in there every once in a while when I have the time. You know what else? My interest in alcohol and tobacco have utterly vanished. Granted, I’ve never really been into either, but since I’ve been using kratom i’ve lost all interest.

    Scott Gottlieb and the FDA are absolutely aware that kratom is not dangerous and they are definitely aware of it’s benefits. That’s why they want to ban it. God forbid more people discover this plant that naturally promotes a healthier lifestyle can help them much better (and safer!) than many of the FDA approved drugs they’ve been taking with all their crappy side effects.

  • darkhorse6669

    It is so refreshing to see support of kratom in the comments, not what i was expecting for this area. The stuff is a blessing for soooo many people and the AKA (American Kratom Association) has an amazing amount of supporters myself included. Big pharma is doing everything they possibly can to make this stuff illegal cause it destroys their profits on all side of the opoid epidemic. There is a great documentary on netflix about it called A Leaf of Faith. Very educational and informative that covers all viewpoints.

      • darkhorse6669

        Uh, yeah they want to profit on all sides of this epidemic. Firstly by knowingly falsly advertising that oxycodone and oxycontin are much safer and significantly less harmful and addictive than other opiates of the past when in reality that is what started the epidemic. Then they profit hugely by selling the “cure” to opiate addiction (methadone, and suboxone) which is still an extremely powerful opiate that just keeps a majority in the throes of addiction. They want kratom illegal because its cheap, safe and not very profitable and they have the FDA and DEA in their very deep pockets. Prove anything i just said to be untrue.

      • jimbrony

        Let’s flip that around: Prove anything you said is true. Do their actions suit your conspiracies, or are your conspiracies crafted to dovetail into your accusations? Whatever – Kratom-yourself to your own delight.

  • lenia2020

    There is nothing wrong with Kratom, it is a tea. This tea helps a lot of people, including my friend who has PTSD and is a Veteran from the war in Iraq. It actually helps him better than the meds that the VA gives him!! People need to give things a chance, and not push reason aside due to pure “drug” hysteria!! Kratom is not a drug!! I know that people are concerned about people who may be addicted to this substance, but Kratom helps people quit so many substances that do a million times more harm. Kratom has never killed anyone alone– it does not cause respiratory depression!! This, it is not even a typical sedative, despite popular belief. It’s unique pharmacology and ubiquity of antioxidants and nutrients, yields this plant a very important tea leaf to study.

    • darkhorse6669

      Your message is spot on but slightly misinforming. You can technically make a tea out of the leaf but it is not related to actual tea leaves. It is a cousin of the coffee plant.

    • jimbrony

      www dot philly dot com says the American Association of Poison Control Centers has received over 600 reports of Kratom overdose, and ten deaths associated with its use. Please stop the misinformation. It contains the ingredient mitragynine which is an addictive substance and acts on the brain’s opioid receptors.

      • George Palickar

        Read the article more carefully. There are 3 instances of death related to Kratom alone since 2016, out of 3 to 5 million Kratom users. 0.0001%. This is comparable to the rate of water intoxication deaths per year: people drinking too much water. So you can say it’s about as dangerous as water. To contrast, your odds of dying in a vehicle related incident in your lifetime is 0.98 %

      • jimbrony

        I read the article. It also states: ‘the FDA declared in February – has been linked to at least 44 deaths nationally’… Since I have no desire to poison my body with heroin, and then poison it with Kraken Krakatoa, I’d say my chances are 0.0000%. And just to live on the edge, I’ll have a glass of water now.

      • darkhorse6669

        Very many of those reports of deaths also include other substances or aderated kratom because it is not regulated for quality and purity (which we would all like to see). Chocolate acts on opiate receptors too, should we ban that as well too? Many more people die from advil every year than kratom, why isn’t that banned?

      • jimbrony

        Pot-head and doper mentality: Don’t ban Kratom, it’s a tea, it’s not addictive, it’s not dangerous, it’s not a substitute drug. Also pot-heads and dopers: The reason people OD and die is because it’s adulterated, get your fix from Kratom – not heroin, we want it regulated for quality and purity. WOW! JUST LIKE A LEGAL DRUG!! Studies have shown that recreational drug use and prescription drug abuse damages the brain and prevents rational and mature thought. You people prove it.

    • jimbrony

      “unique pharmacology” “Pharmacology: The branch of medicine concerned with the uses, effects, and modes of action of drugs.” But – but – it’s not a drug… Get real.

  • burtfan16

    I’d be dead from opiates by now if it weren’t for Kratom. I used it to detox from oxy and then took it for a couple weeks after that. The stuff is a miracle. If you’re hooked on opiates I highly suggest you substitute Kratom for your fix. Go online, research it for yourselves.

    • burtfan16

      Just get it from a reputable supplier. Kratom packaged in these “party” type packages are low grade or could just be wheat grass. Try the kratomconnection.com. I highly recommend it. And no, it’s not a substitute party drug but it will help you kick the habit of opiates. I was taking 400 oxys a month. Now I’m clean going on 4 years. Read about the neuroscience of kratom it’ll explain all.

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