BEAVERTON, Ore. – Kelso police restrained a 27-year-old woman Sunday night after they found her running around the street swinging a hammer and yelling about Jesus. She was also naked.
Her parents told officers she was taking the drug Kratom.
On the bottle, Kratom is marketed as "100% natural, 100% potent" and "110% party."
But that combination could be dangerous.
Kratom comes from a tree in Asia and it can be bought in powder, capsule or liquid form at smoke shops all over Oregon.
The salespeople at Tony's Smoke Shop in Beaverton said people mix it in juice or tea.
While a person has to be 18 to buy it, there is a lot of information online that says teenagers all over the country are getting their hands on it.
Just a little Kratom acts like a stimulant, helping a person to focus and concentrate. Take more and a person can feel calm and relaxed, but it can cause hallucinations, delusions and confusion.
"It's only legal because it hasn't been examined yet," said Tom Parker with the antidrug group Lines for Life. "The DEA has a list of drugs and chemicals of concern – that's what they call it – where they haven't fully tested it out."
Right now nobody knows how dangerous it can be. The DEA is still studying it, but says it can be addictive.
Withdrawal symptoms include hostility, anger, and jerky arm and leg movements.
Kratom has traveled to the United States faster than the federal government can keep up.
While the DEA can ban drugs like Kratom, it takes a while to study them and then pass laws.
Parker said he thinks the government will eventually ban it.
- DEA Fact Sheet (pdf)