Kratom Still Legal, DEA Advocates Its Ban
Kratom provides medical benefits with regulated, DEA proactively pushes ban for possible abuse
Mitragyna speciosa, the scientific name of kratom, grows naturally in Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar. The main active content of kratom – Mitragynine, has properties similar with both stimulant medications and opioid drugs. Its stimulant effects occur when the drug is taken in small amounts, whereas the opioid effects show when it is taken in fairly high doses.
Doctor Cy Rangan, a medical toxicologist at California Poison Control, recognizes that kratom is used to remedy chronic pain and ailments but stresses using it responsibly. He pointed out that, “it is something that has brought people to the Emergency Department, especially when people are taking it in combination with other drugs.” It can be grounded into powder, stuffed into capsules and can also be sold as extracts.
Local smoke and online shops do not require any prescription when purchasing kratom products. The said herbal drug is illegal in some Asian countries and regulated in Europe. However, there is no existing law in the U.S. which bans its usage.
Controlled Substances Act is a law which helps identify federally prohibited substances in the U.S. As of 2014, kratom is not listed in the Controlled Substance Act. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials do not track or prosecute the drug’s users. However, DEA makes necessary measures to track the availability of the said drug.
According to statistics collected from two ongoing DEA projects, illegal drug manufacturers have significantly expanded their yield of kratom items since 2010. Evaluations published in 2013 by the University of Mississippi demonstrate that a huge number of U.S. residents have utilized kratom either recreationally or as a self-regulated medicine for opioid-related withdrawal side effects or different types of long-term pain. The drug remains to have no study-supported claims or formal medical endorsements.
DEA listed kratom on its “drugs and chemicals of concern” file, since the drug is becoming more popular in Southern California, and has high potential for abuse. DEA special agent Sarah Pullen believes, “one thing that we’re seeing as a concern, rather than using it as its pure substance, is its being combined to be abused.” Nevertheless, responsible kratom use proves to be beneficial. Although there is limited research on its use.
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