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Kratom, a naturally occurring psychoactive herb, is on deck to be placed into Schedule I classification by the DEA. This means that they have no accepted medical use, and a high abuse potential- and possession or distribution will carry steep penalties under law. If approved, this functional banning of Kratom in the US will last for a minimum of two years, and would take effect at the end of September.

What is Kratom?

Some say this drug holds promise for people suffering from opiate addiction. Grown primarily in Asia (where it has been consumed for thousands of years, Kratom is typically consumed as a tea or powder. Kratom leaves contains natural chemicals that act on opioid receptors in the brain, serving to reduce pain and produce mild stimulation. Higher doses of Kratom can produce sedation and euphoria. Proponents of Kratom want the drug to be investigated as a possibility for “step-down” or maintenance treatment for opiate addiction.

The Debate Rages On

However, the DEA maintains that Kratom is a dangerous opioid drug akin to heroin, that can cause abuse and dependence in its users, despite any intentions of self-treating chronic pain or opiate withdrawal. The American Kratom Association, a consumer-based nonprofit, disagrees, and has advocated for regulated labeling, marketing, age restrictions and other efforts to crack down on unprincipled distribution methods of the drug. The organization expressed disappointment at federal involvement in Kratom regulation, having tried to work towards “responsible” and “safe” use by those who could benefit from it.

It must be noted, however, that the DEA doesn’t take scheduling lightly, and is working to what it believes is in the best interest of the American people. From January 2010 to December 2015, the CDC found 660 Kratom-related calls to U.S. poison control centers. From December 2014 to March 2016, the CDC recorded 555 positive test results for mitragynine, the psychoactive alkaloid in kratom. Time will tell whether the DEA’s efforts to ban Kratom will be successful, but while it is appealing to believe in a substance that could help opiate addicts, the answer likely does not lie in a substance that is equally addictive and dangerous.

For more information, click here. If you or someone you know is struggling with an opiate addiction, call the professionals at Serenity Acres Treatment Center to see if inpatient treatment is right for you: 1-800-203-2024.