SMITHTOWN - Legislator Steven Stern is proposing a ban on a plant some fear is a new gateway drug.
Stern says the herbal drug kratom, which is legal, is deadly and has caused misery for young people in Suffolk.
"This is a drug that's used particularly by our young people, that is opiate-like in nature. It causes hallucinations, respiratory problems and psychosis," he says.
The herb, variously called kraytom or kratom, can be found in vape shops and convenience stores. It's imported from Southeast Asia, and comes in dried leaf form or capsules.
Stern says kratom can be a gateway drug to heroin, and that many users have been fooled into thinking it’s harmless.
Legislator Stern is inviting the public to comment on his bill next Tuesday during a public hearing at the Legislature building in Smithtown.