PINE BELT (WDAM) - You can find it on the shelves at gas stations and shops through out the Pine Belt.
That drug is called Kratom.
It is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. The leaves are ground up into pills, or liquid form, then ingested.
However, being in possession of it can soon land you behind bars.
When taken at a low dosage, the pills act as a stimulant and boost energy. The more you take, the more the drug gives off a high similar to opiates.
"It makes them feel a calming of the senses and numbing of emotions," said Vanessa Cox, Clinical Director at Pine Grove Next Step.
Cox said these pills are extremely addictive.
"Children these days have such access on buying drugs online and walking into a head shop and gas station and being sold these things." Cox said.
Cox also said Kratom is the most popular drug with recovering addicts.
"They are also using Kratom as a way to treat themselves to come down," said Cox. "The drug is not detectable in drug screenings."
Judge Bob Helfrich sees people struggling with this everyday in drug court, and also said several abuse this drug during probation.
"The danger of it is that it's sold in convenience stores and head shops and there is absolutely no controls on it," Helfrich said.
Helfrich said he is glad the DEA is taking action to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands.
"I think it should've happened a long time ago we need to move quicker to to get these substances they're bringing in classified as illegal drugs,"Helfrich said.
Advocates with Keep Kratom Legal issued a statement to Seven On Your Side claiming that the DEA has exaggerated the health risks of Kratom.
A news release issued by the movement claimed that those who use Kratom are not teenagers, but US military veterans, chronic pain sufferers, and recovering opiod addicts trying to avoid relapse.
You can see their full statement here:
By the end of the month, officials plan on making sure the drug is off the shelves and out of harm's way.
The drug becomes illegal beginning September 30.