The CDC says kratom, an herbal supplement, was a cause of deaths in 91 fatal overdoses in the United States from July 2016 to December 2017. USA TODAY

Mississippi legislators are debating whether to either regulate or ban kratom, an herbal drug that can be used for pain relief and that is currently unregulated in most parts of the United States.

Spectators packed a large room at the state Capitol in Jackson on Thursday for a hearing about the drug.

On one side of the room sat physicians, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents, recovering drug addicts and others who took turns telling lawmakers that kratom is harmful and should be illegal.

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