EDWARDSVILLE — The city council forged ahead 6-0 with its ban on kratom Tuesday, despite those who claim it is beneficial to them. Alderman Craig Louer was absent. “We came to the conclusion …
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EDWARDSVILLE — The city council forged ahead 6-0 with its ban on kratom Tuesday, despite those who claim it is beneficial to them.
Alderman Craig Louer was absent.
“We came to the conclusion that there has not been enough evidence [of] kratom and its effects,” said Alderman Art Risavy of the decision made previously at the committee level. “It is useful for some and it’s abused by others, is the way it was described to us by medical experts at the committee level.”
Kratom, also known as Mitragyna Speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family that is native to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, where it has been used in traditional medicines since at least the 19th Century.
He added that research and data are lacking on kratom to encourage the ban. Alderman Will Krause said the process was a learning experience for him as he previously knew nothing about kratom. The American Kratom Association got wind of the stories and encouraged its members to reach out to the mayor and city council. Krause said they received correspondence from those who favored a ban as well as from those who opposed one.
“We even had a representative at the last ACS Committee from the SIUE School of Pharmacy who is a doctoral candidate,” Krause said. “He had gathered signatures from his fellow candidates in the pharmacy program to ask that we consider banning this drug within our community.”
Mayor Hal Patton said he received over 200 emails on this topic alone. “I thought all of the testimonials were very personal, they were very detailed and beyond challenge,” Patton said. “I think it is an effective medication for individuals but as a health care provider, why isn’t it regulated in some way, shape or form?”
As a local dentist, Patton thinks it’s a shame that it’s come down to the local level; he believes the state or federal government needs to take charge on this issue.
Alderman Jack Burns said he wants to see more research on this topic and regulation of kratom. The ban is erring on the side of caution. Alderwoman Janet Stack noted how many emails she received, and the majority of senders are not from Edwardsville or Madison County, which she said concerned her.
“I understand they want us to regulate it but that’s beyond our control,” she said. Other elected officials noted that the city could easily overturn this ban later, after more research is completed and published about kratom’s benefits.
Reach reporter Charles Bolinger at (618) 659-5735.