The Tuscaloosa Police Department says now that an herbal supplement commonly known as kratom is illegal, officers will begin cracking down on possession.

Earlier this week, Gov. Robert Bentley signed Senate Bill 226, which made kratom alkaloids mitragynine and kydromitragynine illegal to possess or sell.

Tuscaloosa Police Department’s Lt. Teena Richardson said both drugs are addictive and harmful. Mixing either drug with the nasal decongestant prophylhexedrine and tramadol has caused multiple deaths.

Research shows that mitragynine is 13 times more powerful than morphine, Richardson said.

Kratom-based drinks and pills are still commonly available in gas stations or online, under names like K Chill, Phoria, Vita-Lize, K-Shot and Kali Green Indo.

Richardson said the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force is warning merchants that any products containing the now-illegal portions of the kratom plant are now classified as scheduled drugs. Merchants are required to remove the products immediately. If not, they are in violation of possession a schedule I narcotic and would be subject to criminal penalties.

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