Drink containing illegal substance removed from store’s shelves

2-viviazen-bottles_1_1Jasper — A local convenience store selling shots of a product containing a substance banned in Indiana received a visit from the county narcotics officer Monday afternoon.

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department narcotics officer seized 447 bottles of Vivazen from the store on Monday after receiving a detailed complaint about the product.

According to the officer, the product may contain kratom — the company website lists it as an active ingredient in the product promoted as a pain reliever, a naturally occurring plant-based drug sourced from a Southeast Asian tree that is related to the coffee plant. According to police, possession of the drug is illegal under laws that identify synthetic drugs in the state.

Samples of the product were sent to the Indiana State Police lab to confirm whether it contained the illegal ingredient. If it does not contain the drug, the store could face charges for selling a look-alike product similar to any other drug.

The shots were sold for $10.63 for each 2 oz bottle. The company had received 96 cases on August 12 and sold 708 bottles since.

After receiving the detailed complaint that included images of the product, the sheriff’s department’s narcotics officer consulted with the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office and the Indiana State Police’s lab in Evansville to confirm the synthetic product was illegal due to the extensive list of chemicals listed under Indiana’s synthetic drug laws. After confirming the ingredient was illegal, he and another deputy went to the Jasper business selling the shots Monday around 4 p.m.

Employees at the store stated they did not know the product was illegal and told police the manager had stated the product was legal, according to police.

The retailer voluntarily agreed to not sell any more of the product but if a previous complaint about the store carrying products containing K-2 (synthetic marijuana) occurred after the product became illegal to sell in Indiana, the store could face prosecution by the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office.

Although the product is a naturally occurring stimulant, recent law changes have allowed the state to classify the drugs as synthetic to deal with new chemical derivatives of the compound in products.

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