Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
PEARL RIVER, La. - A Northshore lawmaker is warning parents to be on the look out for an over-the-counter herbal remedy called "Kratom."
The manufacturer of the product claims the herb "reliably and quickly relieves all kinds of acute and chronic pain."
But, the packaging on the sample bought at a local store clearly warned customers Kratom is not for human consumption.
Metairie addiction specialist Dr. Ken Roy says people should heed the warning because the product is dangerous, unpredictable and has properties similar to opiate narcotics.
"When you use a small amount of it, it is sometimes described as a stimulant," said Roy. "When you use a large amount of it sometimes is more sedating."
Senator A.G. Crowe, R-Pearl River says Kratom is just as harmful as other over-the-counter herbs such mojo, spice marijuana and bath salts.
The state legislature recently banned those products in Louisiana.
Crowe pre-filed a bill that would add Kratom to the list of controlled dangerous substances.
"I think that what you're seeing here is a pattern that's been developed over some time now where the target market is young kids that don't know better, don't have any idea how bad this stuff can be," said Crowe.
Dr. Roy says in southeast Asia Kratom is a low level, but insidious kind of problem.
"It propitiates an orientation towards mood altering behavior especially in this case with substances that may or may not cause really serious and dangerous and sometimes permanent disability."
A website for the product claims there are no serious risks, dangers or side effects from infrequent use of low doses of Kratom.
But, the manufacturer also warns if you take too much, you could suffer hallucinations, delusions, nausea and other health problems.
"We're trying to be as proactive as we can to get this information out there well before it catches on," said Crowe.
Senator Crowe says since the legislature voted overwhelmingly to outlaw forms of synthetic marijuana, he expects lawmakers will ban Kratom as well.