The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has announced plans to ban all sales of kratom, a popular herbal supplement increasingly being used as an alternative to opioids for relieving chronic pain. The proposed ban will go into effect on September 30th.
The DEA filed notice in the federal register that it will classify two opioid-like chemicals in Kratom as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act – the same classification given to heroin, LSD and marijuana. Kratom is currently considered a food supplement, not a drug, but the move would effectively prohibit all sales of Kratom, which comes from the leaves of a tree grown in southeast Asia.
“Available information indicates that these opioid substances, constituents of the plant Kratom, have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision,” the DEA said.
Opponents of the ban have posted this petition to the WhiteHouse.gov website that now has over well over the 100,000 signatures necessary to get a response from the White House. It is unclear if President Obama will respond since the ban is set to go into effect at the end of this month.
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