By Steve Neavling
The DEA’s plan to ban kratom, a natural substance that is abused and can be dangerous, has spurred outrage from people who say it is an effective treatment, including for people addicted to opioids.
More than 100,000 people signed a petition to urge President Obama to intervene in the DEA’s fight against kratom, the Huffington Post reports.
“Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” reads the petition. “This is not true for Kratom, it has been shown numerous times in reports from users to help recovering Opiate addicts, treat pain, combat depression and anxiety, and much more.”
The DEA insists kratom should be banned to “avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.”
Supporters of kratom criticized the DEA for failing to ask for public comment.
“Rather than have an emergency scheduling, why not host a summit meeting with all of the groups and organizations and investors that are out there selling this product and say, ‘Hey, these are our concerns. If you don’t clean this up this is what we’re going to do’?” Susan Ash, founder of the American Kratom Association, a nonprofit that supports kratom consumers, told The Huffington Post last week. “Why not go to the sources that they’re having the problems with?”
Huffington Post wrote:
Kratom is made from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, a Southeast Asian tree related to coffee, and has been consumed in Asia for millennia, typically as a tea or powder. The herb contains alkaloids that appear to activate opioid receptors in the brain and reduce pain. Although most opioids have sedative qualities, low to moderate doses of kratom serve as a mild stimulant.