Kratom makes addiction recovery harder in South Florida

Ian Mautner committed suicide in 2014. He was addicted to Kratom.

For those fighting drug addiction in South Florida. there is a growing problem--a legal alternative to drugs that is becoming easier to find.

Kratom, mixed in teas, is growing in popularity, even while there's growing concern.

A Google search for where to buy Kratom produced a list of more than 50 locations between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

It can bought at "Let's Roll Tobacco" and at Purple Lotus, they'll serve it to you as a hot beverage. There are many varieties that tout different sensations, but among the recovery community, it's bad news.

Linda Mautner made headlines in 2014 when her son, Ian, committed suicide.

She says he was addicted to Kratom and that was a major factor in his death.

Since then, Palm Beach County officials considered a new requirement that stores and bars would have to post warning signs about Kratom's addictiveness -- but leaders decided that wasn't necessary.

We spoke to managers at halfway houses and treatment centers who say Kratom is contributing to relapses, but the owner of Purple Lotus tells CBS 12 he's not seeing that and he invited us to talk with customers. We approached several customers, but no one wanted to appear on camera.

The FDA can't restrict Kratom sales because it's considered a botanic dietary supplement, but the DEA lists it as "a drug of concern."

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