What is kratom the ‘legal heroin’, how dangerous is the drug and why is it now in WHO’s cross hairs?

The herbal substance kratom, or “legal heroin”, remained largely unnoticed in Hong Kong until it was banned in August. Weeks later, customs officers seized 2.5 tonnes of the psychotropic substance, with an estimated street value of HK$6.67 million (US$856,700), being shipped from Indonesia to Florida, in the United States.

The substance is not illegal at the federal level in the US and many parts of the world, but there has been a debate for years over the need to regulate its use. Indonesia and Thailand are believed to be the largest producers, and the US, the main market.

Between October 11 and 15, the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence will meet in Geneva for a “pre-review” of kratom, a first step in assessing whether it should be added to a list of internationally controlled drugs.

The Post gets the answers to common questions about the substance now under scrutiny.

Read the full story at South China Morning Post.