Carrboro police connect with residents over kava

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Local K9 officer Ron Trombley brings his dog into Krave, a local kava bar, to hang out and drink kava with community members.

Linda Williams, a regular at the Carrboro kava lounge Krave, brought her son in every day for a week to help him detox from suboxone, a highly addictive drug used to treat opiate addiction.

He began drinking kratom tea, which comes from a plant naturally occurring in Southeast Asia. Kratom targets the same opiate receptors as drugs like heroin in a way that staves off dependence.

“He said (to me), ‘I can’t believe it. I feel good, I’m talking to people, and normally, after three days without something, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.’ Detoxing without anything is absolutely horrible,” Williams said. “I’m so glad this place is here.”

On Saturday, Krave hosted Kava with a Cop, a free community event during which residents of Carrboro and Chapel Hill could sit down with local law enforcement officers.

An herbal drink native to the South Pacific, kava offers a means for Carrboro and Chapel Hill residents between the ages of 18 and 21 to socialize and relax without the risks of alcohol.

The Carrboro Police Department coordinated the event with Krave to foster community engagement among law enforcement and residents. One K-9 unit officer, Ron Trombley, brought in his dog Vader and introduced him to clients as Trombley tried his first cup of kava. Many Carrboro police officers are regulars at Krave and see the business as a viable, friendly place to relax and make conversation.

“A large, large percentage of our crimes are alcohol-involved, either with the suspect, victim or both parties,” said David Deshaies, a Carrboro police officer who came in for Kava with a Cop. “If people are using alcohol less, it would stand to reason we’d have to deal with those same people on major calls less often.”

The owner, Elizabeth Gardner, was inspired to bring kava to the Triangle after her first experience with it in 2011 at a Florida kava lounge.

“I loved it so much that I decided I wanted to bring it home and let my family and friends here benefit from it,” Gardner said.

Gardner served as a public defender before opening Krave and saw the effects of alcohol firsthand, which encouraged her to provide an alternative to alcohol in her community.

“The reason I wanted to come to an alcohol alternative is because I kept burying my clients and my family members who abused alcohol and drugs,” Gardner said. “If I feel someone’s abusing (kava), I will cut them off. I don’t want any of those issues.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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