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NJ Assemblyman Looks To Ban Organic Herb That Produces Heroin-Like High

FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A New Jersey lawmaker wants to ban an organic herb fueling the latest drug craze among teens.

As WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported, Kratom gives a high similar to heroin.

The substance is legal and kids can buy it, Adams reported.

The plant is related to coffee; it is native to southeast Asia and has long been used as an herbal pain reliever.

NJ Assemblyman Looks To Ban Organic Herb That Produces Heroin-Like High

But it is also psychoactive and can cause hallucinations and addictions, says New Jersey Assemblyman Ron Dancer, who wants to make the substance illegal.

"According to the FDA, there is a known toxicity in multiple organs that is leading to aggression, hallucinations, delusions, tremors, nausea, vomiting," Dancer said.

Unlike heroin, Kratom is not believed to cause respiratory depression. It is smoked, chewed and steeped like tea.

As CBS2's Christine Sloan reported, it's available at tobacco shops, gas stations and online.

One Kratom user, who did not want to be identified, said the drug can be addictive.

"You go without it for two days and you feel like death," he said.

Doctors said the withdrawal symptoms are bad.

"Nausea, sweating, tremors," Dr. John Corbett explained.

The DEA calls it a drug of concern.

It has been banned in Thailand and Malaysia where the tree grows. In the United States it has been made illegal in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Vermont.


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