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

What in the world is Kratom and why is it in the news?

The answers to these questions and how we respond to them will either increase public safety in Mississippi or undermine it.

First, what is Kratom?

It is the dried and ground leaves of a tree found in parts of Southeast Asia. It has been used for hundreds of years for a variety of health reasons and has become popular in the US recently, often sold as a dietary supplement.  In low doses, people who use it report mild pain-relieving qualities and more energy.  In large doses, it can act as a sedative.

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