DEA puts kratom on schedule 1 drugs list

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Kratom - Mitragyna speciosa. Image © iStock / frank600
Kratom - Mitragyna speciosa. Image © iStock / frank600

Related tags Dietary supplement programs Food and drug administration

The Drug Enforcement Administration has put mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, the active constituents of kratom, on its list of schedule 1 banned drugs, a list that includes heroin and LSD.

The move was presaged by a communication on kratom issued in early May. In making this formal, temporary placement on the list, DEA said it must consider the following:

“To find that placing a substance temporarily into schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety, the Administrator is required to consider three of the eight factors set forth in section 201(c) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(c): the substance's history and current pattern of abuse; the scope, duration and significance of abuse; and what, if any, risk there is to the public health.”

Dan Fabricant, PhD, executive director of teh Natural Products Association, was known to be critical of the marketing of kratom as a dietary supplement during his time as the director of FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs (now elevated to an ‘office’). Fabricant said the news of DEA’s scheduling of kratom is welcome, but question will be the pressure of the bite, not the loudness of the bark.

“Kratom has been a public health target for almost five years, and its surging growth in use and availability is an unfortunate but real example of the federal government’s unwillingness to use existing authorities to enforce the law. This is a necessary and welcome step, but unless it is followed with real enforcement and penalties for those who are selling it in coffee bars, on the internet, and elsewhere, it will be toothless,”​ Fabricant said.

“Kratom is not an herbal supplement: it is addictive, harmful, and worse, it may be contributing to America’s opiate epidemic. We are eager to work with the authorities and our members to help turn the tide against kratom,”​ he said.

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Banning Kratom is Wrong

Posted by Elizabeth,

Nine years ago I suffered a back injury that led to weeks of physical therapy and, for a short time, opioids. I’m a sixty-year-old woman and have never been a drug abuser. I have used “tons” of otc pain relievers, which themselves could be more harmful to the body than Kratom, and don’t really do much good for my kind of pain.
I have taken care of my elderly mother now for seven years and my husband is retired. Sometimes, just functioning is difficult because of my nagging back pain. Using Kratom makes my life easier, all the way around. When your life is on hold for years because you are a 24/7 caregiver, depression and anxiety can set in. I finally found something that helps me function more efficiently with much less pain and I don’t feel like “doom and gloom” all the time. And, it does not impair thinking or reasoning in any way. You can’t say that about alcohol, which is highly addictive and causes numerous deaths, but I’d say is used by just about every lawmaker in America, so it’s not going to be banned.
Implying that Kratom should be in the same category as heroin and LSD, and causes withdrawal equivalent to something like heroin, is nonsense. How can it “contribute to America’s opiate epidemic” when it is a safer alternative to opiates? Making this natural remedy a banned substance is wrong. There are many, many people just like myself who either don’t want to take Hydrocodone, Oxycodone or something similar, or can’t because pain clinics are something of the past and prescriptions are no longer being written in their state (like mine), unless they are a long time patient and their doctor has already been prescribing it for them. A prescription used to be an option for me, should my pain become unmanageable, but no longer is. How is banning Kratom fair to us, so that we then have nothing? These people who say so should try it themselves and see how harmless it really is. There is something more behind this ban and I'll bet it all comes down to money and greed.

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Miracle herb

Posted by Adam,

I have used kratom safely and successfully for several years now. I no longer suffer from chronic migraines nor my addiction to pharmaceutical opiates as a result of this miracle of nature. I have never felt nor known any negative side effects nor withdrawal from kratom whatsoever. The fact that it is being labeled as dangerous and addictive is completely false. Anyone who has personally used this herb will agree. Do not be into the fear tactics. It has changed my life for the better.

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Dangerous misinformation

Posted by Thomas Dixon,

Dan Fabricant is lying. This is not a dangerous drug. Quite the opposite, is a godsend for thousands of people who suffer from pain, anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol addiction. Kratom is similar to coffee. It does not get you high. You cannot overdose. There is no withdrawal nor "hangover". It does not affect your cognitive abilities. What it does is make you feel better. You like and want to listen to people more. For me it removes my daily anxiety. I used to use Xanax and alcohol. Now I have no desire to use either. This wonderful plant should be promoted, not lied about and vilified.

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