KRATOM: Illegal drug or miracle pain medicine?

ATLANTA — Metro Atlanta residents who take Kratom are defending the controversial herbal supplement.%



While the feds are close to deciding whether to classify Kratom as an illegal drug, one local woman says her mind is made up.

Kim Byrom, who has a history of serious back problems, says she used to take several pills in hopes of managing her pain.

Then she tried Kratom.

She says she noticed an immediate impact and swears it’s safe.


“Try it. Test it out on yourself. See how it makes you feel,” Byrom said.

Byrom says she carries around a Tupperware container full of Kratom shipped from Asia.

“It doesn’t have a high feeling. It does have, like, a mood enhancer. It makes you want to get up and do,” Byrom said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is looking at a plan to ban the herb, partly because more than a dozen deaths may be linked to it.

Some say it should be put on a list of illegal drugs, in the same category as heroin and cocaine.

The feds are collecting public comments before they decide.

“If I didn’t have Kratom -- I’m not going back to pain pills. I will illegally use it. I stand firm with that,” Byrom said.


Scientists say people can add chemicals to make the herb dangerous.

The director at the Extension Addiction Treatment Center in Marietta says he's done his research and there are side effects. He told Channel 2 Action News, "I had a personal experience working with someone who was experimenting with Kratom and required the same detox as a heroin detox."

Selling Kratom in Georgia is legal.